Saturday, May 29, 2010

Managing a bookstore

Bookstore management is similar to retail management in all of its general principles. In my previous article, I explained a little bit about Managing Home Based Bookstore. Now I am discussing a broader topic Managing A Bookstore. So, what are the differences between these two titles. Well, bookstore can be a home based, non-home based for instance the one that is located in a mall or an independent building in a strategic location on a busy street. The latest trend that is increasingly popular is online bookshop. With three types of bookstores, there will be three kinds of management to make these businesses successful. First I will deal with home based one.
Managing a Home Based Bookstore
Because I have discussed this topic in my previous article, I will make my explanation as briefly but as clear as possible. Home based bookstore in its size usually is a small, mom and pop store that is run from a garage. I personally manage my home based Xavier bookstore from my living room. Because it is a small bookshop, I give more attention in the book market that are really needed by my customers. I carefully make research on the what book categories that university students in my home town Manokwari are looking for. Because the university has study programs that are related to agriculture and forestry, many of my books are about these topics. In addition, the percentage of Christian population in this town is high, books about Christianity is the highest in monthly selling.
To minimize the cost, I don't hire any employees. I use two computers to help me with Point of Sales and Online Bookstore management. Brick and mortar bookshop that is run from home can compete in the national and international level through online store. I will discuss more about it in my third point. Last year, I got 400 million rupiahs or around 40,000 US dollars from this home based bookstore business. It is very profitable business if we are serious in running it. So, if you are now considering of running a home based bookstore, do it now. You have to be smart in determining the profit margin you will charge to your books without losing your competitive position.
Managing an Enterprise Class Bookstore
If you have large amount of capital or if you can tap capitals from banks, your friends, parents, and other business partners, you can set up a big bookstore that is located in an independent building at a strategic location in your town or city. Managing such a big bookstore cannot be done  alone. Besides you need more workers, you will have to be very professional manager. The bigger the bookstore, the more complicated its management will be. Employees will work in two or three shifts. You also need to think about gaining enough profit to be shared with investors at the end of a business year. In addition, the overhead cost such as electricity, and other utilities can be high. If you get substantial amount of loan from a bank, you have the obligation to pay it back. Managing a bookstore in this size is a serious thing. You cannot just close it if you want to visit your friends in other city. Personally, I have never experienced managing an enterprise class bookstore with around 30 employees. With the rapid growing of my home based bookstore, I will someday have to hire more workers and move my bookstore to a building or a mall where the number of visitors is higher and the potential of profit earnings is better. The lay out of bookshelves and the bookshelf design play an important role in ensuring smooth flow of people moving around your bookstore.
Managing an Online Bookstore
Talking about online bookstore, this type of bookshop is now getting popular among students because they can get books that they are looking even from the other side of the world. Online bookstores now in tight competition with brick and mortar bookstores. In order to enter international market, brick and mortar bookstores (including home based bookshops) are now launching their own online bookstores.
To open an online bookshop, you need an internet connection, and a little investment on webhosting. Today, e-commerce shopping cart software such as OS Commerce, VPASP and ZenCart can be used to set up an online retail stores including a bookstore. The management of bookstore using such shopping carts is relatively easy. You don't even need to know html code although some knowledge about database management will be helpful. Overall, all you need to think about is how to categorize your books using that e-commerce software and how to handle the shipment of the books if there are customers ordering your merchandise from other countries.
If you don't know how to operate e-commerce shopping cart for your online bookstore, you can still have your own online bookshop by registering yourself as an Amazon Associate. After becoming a member, you can write a review about the book that you used to read and add book (the code is provided directly by the Amazon.com) into your blog post. The best and the easiest way to do this is by using blogger.com. The easiest and the fastest blogging platform that is provided by Google.
There are still many factors to consider in bookstore business that you need to know in order to successfully make profit from your bookstore. I will explain about them one by one later in my other blog posts. So, do not hesitate to regularly visit this blog sometime in the near future. by Charles Roring

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