Start An Online Book Store - Business Ideas

Start An Online Book Store - Business Ideas
Start An Online Book Store

Bookselling is the commercial trading of out-of-print books or collectibles. If you are an avid reader or just love selling online, opening an online book store in the age of Amazon and massive retail stores can be a rewarding and fun business. You can sell books on sites like eBay, Abebooks and other high-traffic bookstores.

You can write and self-publish your own books, and sell to fans directly, or resell books by different publishers. Alternatively, you can venture into the vintage, rare or out-of-print books.

To start a bookselling business follow these basic steps:

  • Find a niche and create an inventory
  • Develop a book brand
  • Source the books you plan to sell
  • Launch and market your online store

To compete effectively, differentiate your bookselling brand and be hyper-focused. Focus on delivering a curated experience so you build a community of book lovers.

Starting an online book store requires a great deal of effort, dedication, and most importantly passion.

If you're interested in how to sell book selling, or selling book selling online, you can use this page as a guide for everything you'll need to know.

Key Stats

market size
$115B
starting costs
$13.7K
gross margin
40%
time to build
210 days

Startup Costs

Min Startup Costs Max Startup Costs
Office Space Expenses $0 $7,000
Inventory Expenses $350 $14,750
Software Expenses $150 $2,794
Website Costs $13 $215
Advertising & Marketing Costs $0 $2,450
Total Startup Costs $513 $27,209

Successful Businesses

Business URL Rank
Sell Textbooks For Cash mybookcart.com #1,931,085
bookselleracademy bookselleracademy.com #1,992,772
Zapper zapper.co.uk #2,727,384
CKY Books – Sell Used Books ckybooks.com #3,360,611
John K. King Used & Rare Books rarebooklink.com #3,442,073
Donate Your Books bookdriver.net #3,447,895
Sell textbooks online in Canada secondbind.com #3,583,022
Sell the Feeling sellthefeeling.com #3,678,131
Mouse Book Club mousebookclub.com #3,849,150
Conundrum Publishing conundrumpub.com #4,209,084
The Book House bookhousestl.com #5,101,600

Pros & Cons

Pros Description
Flexibility You can put as much time into the business as you'd like. If you like the work and have some initial experience, you can start small and manage all aspects of the business on your own.
Ability to start your business from home It's not necessary to have a physical storefront or office space to get your business started. You can do everything from the comfort of your own home, at least in the beginning!
Little startup costs required The cost to start a online book store costs significantly less money than most businesses, ranging anywhere from 12 to 27,209.
Rewarding work Starting a online book store can be really rewarding work. After all, you are solving an immediate issue for your customer and you're working on something you truly care about.
Scalable With businesses and processes changing daily, there will always be demand for new features, products and services for your business. Additionally, there are several different business models and pricing tiers you can implement that will allow you to reach all types of customers.
Traffic to your website A online book store gives people a reason to visit your website and to keep coming back to you!
Cons Description
Crowded Space Competition is high when it comes to your online book store, so it's important that you spend a good amount of time analyzing the market and understanding where the demand lies.
Finding The Right Supplier Most businesses in this space go the supplier/manufacturer route, which isn't a bad thing! However, finding the right supplier can take a lot of time, energy and trial/error. If done properly, this process can save you months (if not years) of time and energy. More on this below in the "finding a supplier" section.
Security Issues With any Saas business, data loss and security issues may arise throughout your process of building your product. It's critical that you understand exactly what you're responsible for and how to avoid potential issues down the road.
Lack of benefits With a online book store, you are typically self-employed and responsible for finding your own insurance, which can be quite costly and time-consuming.
Isolation Often times, as a online book store, you typically work alone and do not have much face-to-face interaction with other team members.
Taxes As a online book store, you typically pay self-employment taxes which can be quite high. It's important to understand what you will be paying in taxes each year so you can determine if the work you're taking on is worth it.

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
Want to find more ideas that make money?

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