Sunday, September 19, 2010

Managing a bookstore the difficult part

Someone type a phrase "the difficult part in managing the bookstore." To answer this question I will devide the management of bookstore in to four topics of attention
The MerchandiseBookstore sells books and school supplies. That's what we know about. In one bookstore, there are tens of thousands of book titles. The title of books are more diverse than the kinds of merchandise that you usually see in the supermarket. If you don't know how to group them then your customers will face difficulties in finding books that they are looking for. So, you need to separate books about economics from the books about house design and books about health from books about computer. Book categories are the right keyword for this. And every category of books must have its own bookshelves. When customers enter your bookstore and find that the books have been orderly arranged according to such categories as school textbooks, religion, fiction, and law, they will enjoy shopping in your bookstore. They will not get headache when trying to find certain titles because they will know the most likely location for the books that they need. If the title of the book is How to start, run and maintain a home business then the exact location of the book will be in the category of economics or entrepreneurship. To organize tens of thousands of titles of books, you will definitely need a computer software. Microsoft Excel or Access and other software that are similar to them are highly recommended.
Building of the BookstoreThe building where your bookstore is running should clearly show to the people that it is a bookstore. You need to install a big name plank which says that it is a bookstore that people pass by. Because the number of customers who enter the bookstore can be as low as ten (for every small bookshop) to as high as ten thousand (to a super large bookstore), bookstore owner needs to ensure that the flow of the movement of the customers walking around inside the bookstore has to be as smooth as possible. With hundreds to thousands of people enter your bookstore every day, cleanliness is a must. In addition, the structure of the building should be strong enough to support the books and their bookshelves as well as the people who move around inside it. 
People who run the bookstore
The success of the operation of a bookstore lies in the people who manage and run it. From the bookstore owner to staff who work near the bookshelves, the operation of the bookstore depend on them. Every employee must have a clear job description. He or she must work synergitically with other employees to serve the customers and to manage the bookstore well. Manager of a bookstore has to be a person that can manage and delegate certain tasks in every level of bookstore operation to the right persons.
Database Management System and Administrative Works
Database is the heart of a business. A well managed database ensures that a business is also properly managed. Therefore, the staff who has been appointed to sit in that position must have excellent knowledge about how the database of a bookstore should be developed, managed or maintained. In addition to a sound database management system, the administrative works of a bookstore should be given the same attention and priority. Most often bookstore owner does not see administrative works as not as important as marketing and selling. Correspondence with book suppliers and small independent publishers are important to build a trustable partnership with all of the people who are involved in book writing, book publishing and book selling.
There are still a lot of things that we can discuss about bookstore management, the above four topics of attention are a good overview for those who want to set up and run their own bookstore. by Charles Roring

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bookstore owner educational background

I have just read on the feedjit live that someone typed, "educational background of a bookstore owner" in search engine google and arrived in this blog. Well, to answer that question, I will ask whether there is a school, I mean a study program in a university that deals with bookstore management or simply how to manage a bookstore. You will find that most of the universities do not have such specific study programs. There are special program for people who want to work as librarians but there are not any program about bookstore management although you can see that there are tens or hundreds of thousands of bookstores around the world.
There are no restrictions to anybody who wants to have or run his/her own bookstores. Similar to other retail businesses, the owners must have adequate knowledge of shop or retail management. So, if you want to have your own bookstore, you need to study retail management. You can attend a special course which is usually provided by economic schools or if you are not interested in going to campus anymore, you just buy a book about retail management and begin your long journey to be an entrepreneur in book business.
Besides learning the retail management, you need to be a manageable person. You need to manage yourself. Bookstore business is a serious business. It can be a complicated enterprise that employ tens up to hundreds of employees that handle tens of thousands of book titles. If you can manage yourself based on time management and result oriented target then you are most probably right in choosing bookselling business as your lifelong career. Even you are a person who likes reading, you might not be a right person for running a bookstore. Bookstore is a business. It involves a lot of activities from analyzing the needs of customers for books to order them from suppliers and to arrange them on the display bookshelves.
You don't have to be a computer programmer when you build the database of your bookstore. This can be done easily by using special retail software which combines such functions as inventory control and point of sales. Yet you need to know how to use such software so that you can use it to run or operate the bookstore smoothly. Database software plays vital role in the success or failure of your bookstore. Bad database system means bad management. So, study carefully the retail software that is suitable to your bookstore and run it according to a good retail management principles.
In addition to adequate knowledge in computer database that is related to bookselling business, a bookstore owner needs to be a good manager. Someone who can manage other people towards a common goal which is to created profit, develop or enlarge the business and improve the welfare of all the employees. Another goal is participating in the society as provider of information and knowledge that is valueable in improving the quality of education and the standard of living of the community where your bookstore is located.
If your educational background is law, or engineering, you are eligible to enter bookstore business as long as you are willing to study this trade. by Charles Roring

Monday, September 13, 2010

Recommended Walking Space Between Bookshelves

This is often asked by bookstore owners or architects who are designing a bookshop. I have explained this matter several times. But to make it clear again I will say that the space or distance between bookshelves ranges from 1.5 meters for small bookstore to 2.5 meters for large bookstore. In my bookstore I choose the smallest one which is 1.5 m because I don't have much space left after the whole floor area has been filled with bookshelves, tables, chair and books.
Please, provide larger space, at least two meters at the entrance and exit doors so that your customers won't experience bottle neck. You know what I mean? Fill an empty bottle with water and turn it to pour it out again. See what happens? The water will slow along the small tunnel leading to the mouth of the bottle. So, if the entrance and exit space doors in your bookstore have small spaces, your customers will not be comfortable with it. If your bookstore has only one door, you need to ensure that there are no objects in front of it that could blockade the flow of the customers moving in and out of the bookshop. The first bookshelves that they see should be the newly arrived books. It does not always have to be a bookshelf. It can be a table where new books are displayed on it.
Also read: Standard Space Between Bookshelves

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How to make my bookstore different

The above title is a simple question but bookstore owners have to answer it through actions - not spoken words. Well, running a successful bookstore business entails a lot of works. Whether your retail business is online or brick and mortar or even the combination of them, you need to continuously improve your service. Try to promote your bookstore to every potential customer. How? Print brochures containing newly arrived books and give them away to people who come to your bookstore. Send them to your friends and colleagues. Don't be shy to introduce your book selling business to everybody you meet every day.
Quality of the books show the quality of your bookstore
If you want people to come to your bookstore, you need to sell books that they really need. Analyze the demographic background of your town or city. How many elementary schools are there? How many high schools? Is there university in your town? What are the study programs available. Supply the books that are suitable for the educational needs of the town dwellers
Clean your bookstore every day
If you receive tens of people every day in your bookstore, don't forget to sweep the floor of your bookstore regularly. I run a home based bookstore and I know that cleanliness is very important. I sweep the floor at least twice a day. Don't forget that it is not only the floor that you need to clean, the parking lot has to be cleaned too. The walls of the bookstore and fence have to be free of graffiti. If you see any bad words on the walls clean them. Repaint the walls and the fence of your bookstore so that they look brighter and more attractive.
Indoor lighting
Small words in the books are difficult to be read by older people. Provide good lighting so in your bookstore so that they will be able to browse and choose the books that they want. The lamps that you install in your bookstore have to be bright enough to enable customer read the books well before deciding to buy them. Bright lamps should be the energy efficient ones so that you will not be burdened by monthly high electricity bill.
Rearrange books in the bookshelves
I have explained this matter several times but I will emphasize again here that the books that you put on the shelves should be neatly arranged according to their respective categories. Books for health must not be mixed with books about computer. And books about religion should not be mixed with books under the category of business and entrepreneurship.
Look carefully at the flow of people moving around your bookstore. If they are clogged in a certain corner, try to rearrange the layout of the bookstore so that it will be easier for them to go through between the bookshelves.  Well, these are my tips for to day. Next time I will write more about how to run a successful bookselling business.
Also read: Bookstore management principles

Monday, September 6, 2010

Manage a bookstore

Managing a bookstore is similar to managing a retail business. It should be done on the principles of selling books as products to customers that are needed by them. Every book is unique. Even a slight difference in a word of the title of the book can mean a big difference in the whole content of the book. So, if you go to a bookshelf and find two books with such titles as Managing a bookstore and the Management of Bookstore, you will see that the contents of them are totally different in their presentations. So, selling books is not the same as selling food or soap. If you are run out of a bathing soap, you can go to a supermarket and buy soap. If you don't find the brand that you like, you can buy another brand easily. You cannot two the same easily when you want to buy a book. Even if you find two books with the same title but different authors, you know that the contents are different.
So, the task that the manager of a bookstore and his staff must do is to deliver the books that the customer need accurately. I have some experience in meeting the demand of our book lovers. Here are some points of bookstore management principles that are related to daily business operation:
Provide a wish list or order listIt is a simple form. In the form, customers and fill in the titles, authors, publishers, the name and cell phone numbers if the want to order the books that they are looking for. If the books are expensive, we will request advanced payment from them. Every week we use he wish list or the order list as our order list to our book supplier in Java. We order the books exactly as what our customers had written in the table. So, when the books arrive, we just have to send text messages to them. They will come to pick up the books which they order in the afternoon or in the evening. By applying this method, we have managed to raise our monthly selling to between 200 and 300 percent since 2007.
Clean your bookshelves regularlyPeople come to my bookstore to find books. It means that their main focus of attention is books that are put on the bookshelves. The total surface of the bookshelves layout is large. It needs to be cleaned regularly. When the surfaces of the books are clean and free from dust, they will be more attractive to customers. Don't forget to rearrange the books according to such categories as business, computer, health, novels, religion, agriculture and etc. The cleaning of the books should be done by using soft dry cloth. You must not clean them using wet or damp cloth except if they are covered with plastic film.
Cleanliness of the bookshop as a whole
Everyone likes cleanliness. If you go to a bookstore whose floor and windows are full of sand and dust, you will not be interested in exploring the books that are displayed on the shelves. Sweep the floor and than mop it. Sweeping should be carried out at least twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon. The front yard of the bookstore has to be cleaned from garbage especially the plastic cups and bottles. Bookshelf design has to be simple to allow for fast cleaning of the bookshelves and the books.
Hospitality of the staff
At this time every retail businesses should consider themselves as service business. When you sell books you serve people. Be kind, helpful and professional. Your body and clothing have to be cleaned before you stand next to the cashier computer screen or bookshelves. Selling books is not easy, you need to have some knowledge about books.
Lay out of the bookstore
If you only run a small bookstore, you only need to categorize your books similar to the way librarians categorize books in the library. For me, I add a small table near the entrance door where customers can see the newly arrived books. If your bookstore is large, please, separate the school or office supplies from the floor of the books.
POS - Point of Sale
Every retailer knows how important this software is in supporting the operation of their business. A good POS software for a bookshop must have features where bookstore owner can fill in the title, the author and the publisher of the books in separate columns of the inventory entry form.
Well, there are still more aspects of bookstore management that I can explain it here but I think I will continue it next time in my other blog post. Thank you - Charles Roring

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