6 Online Book Store Success Stories [2024]

Updated: November 1st, 2023
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.

Here are some real life success stories of starting a online book store:

1. Conundrum Publishing ($240K/year)

Nick Thacker stumbled into full-time writing after realizing he was making more from writing novels than from his 9-5 job. He started by self-publishing his books and honing his craft, eventually building a full-service book production firm and earning around $10,000 to $20,000 per month in royalties from his thriller and action-adventure novels.

How much they make: $240K/year
Current team size: 2


How I Generate $10K/Month As An Indie Writer

This case study follows full-time thriller and action-adventure author Nick Thacker who earns between $10k to $20k per month from writing, predominantly through Amazon Kindle Unlimited sales, and goes in-depth into his self-publishing strategy which maximizes sales and minimizes costs, such as developing a mailing list and utilizing print-on-demand services.

Nick started Conundrum Publishing over 7 years ago
Nick grew the business to $20K/month
Read by 9,717 founders

2. Mouse Book Club ($120K/year)

David Dewane, the co-founder and president of the Mouse Book Club, came up with the idea while sitting on a bus and noticing everyone on their phones. He realized that people are constantly reading on their phones, but often don't remember what they read. This led him to create phone-sized physical books as an alternative, mailing over 40,000 books to 60+ countries and generating $170,000 in sales in the first two years.

How much they make: $120K/year
Current team size: 0


How We Launched A Book Subscription Service And Sold 40K Books

The Mouse Book Club is a start-up that mails physical, pocket-sized books to help readers disconnect from their digital devices, with over $170k in sales and 40,000 books sent to 60+ countries in the first two years.

David started Mouse Book Club almost 7 years ago
David grew the business to $10K/month
Read by 8,249 founders

Learn more about starting an online book store:

Where to start?

-> How much does it cost to start an online book store?
-> Pros and cons of an online book store

Need inspiration?

-> Examples of established online book store

Other resources

3. Finn and Remy, LLC ($24K/year)

Jane, a lawyer and engineer with an artsy streak, rediscovered her love for art while decorating her children's nurseries. After launching a watercolor greeting card design featuring a hedgehog, she received positive feedback and decided to create more animal-based doodles. With a baby strapped to her waist, she ran test prints, launched a presale, and eventually expanded to art prints and books. Now, she and her husband travel the world while writing and illustrating children's books that spark curiosity and appreciation for storytelling.

How much they make: $24K/year
How much did it cost to start: $1.2K
Current team size: 0


Pausing The American Dream To Travel The World Writing Children's Books

This case study follows Jane, an artist and author, who left the American Dream to travel the world while writing and illustrating her books, with her latest book, "Finn + Remy Present: Einstein’s Trampoline," aimed at introducing fundamental concepts of physics to children aged 4-10, available on Amazon for just $4.99.

Jane started Finn and Remy, LLC over 6 years ago
Jane grew the business to $2K/month
It cost Jane $1200 to start the business
Read by 6,357 founders

4. DragonTree Publishing ($2.4K/year)

This British founder's idea for a business came about when she realized the potential market for a guidebook to the astronomical observatory on the Spanish island of La Palma. Through personal connections and targeted marketing, the founder has sold thousands of copies of her guidebook, and plans to continue expanding her book collection and guiding services. The combination of tour guiding and self-publishing has allowed her to have a good quality of life on the island.

How much they make: $2.4K/year
Current team size: 0


How To Write A Travel Guidebook And Sell Thousands Of Copies

Learn how a writer and tour guide turned her niche knowledge of the Spanish island of La Palma into a successful book business, earning ⅓ of her modest income through sales of her self-published guide book to the island's astronomical observatory and other publications, often selling directly to observatory visitors and other outlets, and how the books promote her income-earning work.

Sheila started DragonTree Publishing about 12 years ago
Sheila grew the business to $200/month
Read by 5,974 founders