Have you always had your nose in books? Do you know the latest books, the trendy authors, and only dream of one thing: opening a bookstore? More and more people are interest by the heathy leaning way: read books, start a bookstore is a great ideas for both business and interest.

Good news: you've come to the right place! From market research to a bookstore business plan, we guide you in this article through the main steps to open a bookstore or book kiosk.

bookstore furniture

Understand the book market and its trends

The first step before opening a bookstore is to understand the dynamics of the market comprehensively.

A dynamic offer, but declining sales

In France, the economic book sector is the country's leading cultural industry. 53% of French people bought at least one book in 2014, and the book market is estimated at 3.9 billion euros (GfK panel, sales out of the box); GfK also forecasts that the book represents more than half of the cultural goods market.

According to the report, more and more titles are produced, 704,030 references were available for sale in 2014 (+ 4.5% compared to 2013). but production is down 553,241 units in 2014 (-3.3% compared to 2013), as well as retail sales which have been declining for several years -1.7% in 2012, -2.7% in 2013, and -1, 3% in 2014 (sales in value, GfK panel).

We are also witnessing a substantial increase in digital book sales, which represented 6.4% of publishers' turnover in 2014, against only 4.1% in 2013.

At the level of the most sold categories, we find (data in value):

  • Novels: 25%
  • Children's books: 13%
  • School and extracurricular books: 13%
  • Books for leisure, practical life, tourism, and regionalism: 10%
  • Human and social science works (including law): 10%

Bookstores are subject to solid indirect competition.

The number of book sales outlets in France is estimated to be between 20,000 and 25,000. Of this total, only between 3,500 and 4,500 generate a significant share of their turnover with books. And This means that booksellers face intense indirect competition from large cultural surfaces, supermarkets, and the Internet. Moreover, in 2014, only about 1 in 5 books were sold in bookstores (22% sales).

Fixed prices and frequent use of second-hand purchases

In France, the price of a book has been revised since 1981, as this infographic produced explains very well :

Second-hand book purchases are also widespread; according to Chapite.com, second-hand sales represented around 40% sales in 2012.

What should we take away from it?

The book market is mature and dynamic. Bookstores are faced with double competition: from other book outlets on the one hand and internet sales (physical and digital books) on the other.

In this context, setting up a bookstore can be a good idea, but it will be necessary to pay particular attention to the competitive dynamics at the local level.

To be successful, you will need to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Betting on the quality of your advice or a rich offer of second-hand titles are avenues to explore.

Looking For Book Shelves? Click Here!

Steps to open a bookstore

Local market research

Market research is used to calibrate your project upstream of the launch, i.e., to validate your positioning and the commercial potential of your bookstore at the local level.

Market research is an essential step in which you will have to devote time to find precise information, particularly in the area where you want to create a bookstore.

To carry out your market research, you will have to:

  • Analyze the local market: the data that we have just mentioned at the national level will significantly help you feed this analysis, but it is essential to refine it using figures on the catchment area where you want to establish yourself.
  • Analyze the target customers: what is their average basket, and how often they buy? What are the selection criteria? Should there be any events (signings, meetings with the authors, selection of booksellers, etc.)? Where do they buy their books now? Etc.
  • Study the competition: who are your local competitors? What is their offer? How are you going to stand out from them?
  • Think about the choice of suppliers: what networks are you going to use to make sure you always have the latest references? What are their commercial conditions (price, minimum quantity, delivery times, payment times, etc.)?
  • Familiarize yourself with the regulations: the single-price law governs the sale of books. But other rules apply to traders. So inform yourself well before you start.

The choice of status and registration of the company

There are several possible legal statuses for opening a bookstore. Take the time to study the subject, taking into account your family context but also tax. To do this, use our guide: choose my legal status.

You will also have to register your company in the commercial register. An essential prerequisite to no longer has to worry about it.

The bookstore business plan

The realization of the business plan of your bookstore is a decisive step since it is this document that will be used to try to convince your financial partners to follow you.

The bookstore business plan includes 2 parts:

  • A quantified part: highlighting the need for financing the project and its potential for profitability
  • An argued part: presenting the results of your market research. the legal structure of the company and its managers, highlighting the strengths of your project, and the relevance of your commercial strategy

Buy Customized entire book store fixtures and shelves.

The critical points of the business plan for opening a bookstore

There are 2 elements that you will have to put forward in your bookstore business plan: your ability to attract and retain customers and your ability to manage supplies.

Attract and retain customers

The bookstore profession is a volume business: the margin made on each sale is meager, you must be able to attract a continuous flow of customers in the store. For this, the choice of location as your ability to differentiate yourself from competitors and retain your customers is absolutely crucial.

Here are also some avenues to explore in terms of positioning:

  • Play on the service: a friendly welcome and sound advice, simple reservations to make - why not online, previews ... target all these little things that will retain your customers and bring you world by word of mouth
  • Look for innovation: a new concept, exceptional events, flexible spaces to welcome the public ... Stand out from the crowd!

Manage supplies

As with any business, the ability to manage inventory should be put forward in the business plan.

If you do not have enough stocks on specific references, you will miss out on certain sales. Conversely, if you have too much inventory, you will end up with unsold items, and this will weigh heavily on your cash flow.

It's up to you to find the right balance and suitable suppliers.

That is all for this time. We hope this article has given you a better understanding of opening a bookstore and having a successful business plan.