Sunday, June 26, 2011

Online bookstore needs bookshelves, doesn't it?

Online bookstore is a type of bookselling business that promotes certain titles of books on the internet through a website for customers who live in many different areas around the world. As someone who is now running an online bookstore, I can say clearly that online bookstore definitely needs bookshelves or shelves. The shelves are needed for safe placement of books instead of putting them on the floor. Because books have to be grouped into several different categories, a number of bookshelves are needed for that purpose. If the bookshop is purely run on an online basis, the arrangement or lay out may not be the same as the arrangement of bookshelves on brick and mortar shop floor. In online bookstore, the space for placing the merchandise can be curbed into, for instance, a 4 meter x 4 meter room.
The most important thing that an online bookstore owner has to prioritize is not how big a physical room is but how the website for selling his or her books is designed and promoted on the internet. He or she has to make the online bookstore famous.
Because most of the transactions of the bookshop occur automatically with the help of an e-commerce software such as ZenCart or VPASP, online shop owner does not need a lot of staff to supervise the visitors who are looking for books that they need to read on the bookshelves such as what we usually see in a brick and mortar retail store. In addition, starting an online bookstore is much easier than starting a brick and mortar bookstore.
A famous online bookstore can handle simultaneously hundreds of transaction in one time without the store owner has to type each title of books and the quantity of items bought by the book lovers into his or her POS software or cash register machine. In today's highly competitive bookselling market, brick and mortar store owners must go online if they are really serious in expanding their market share. I remember reading the phenomenal success story of Amazon.com owned by Jeff Bezos who started his business from a small garage. Now it is a major player not only in bookselling business but also in anything that can be sold online. Even in time when store owners worry about the development of e-books and electronic readers, Amazon.com continues to be the leader in online bookselling market by selling their Kindle that is able to store around 3,500 books in PDF file format and can be carried anywhere by the owner where ever he or she goes.
Also read: The bookshelves layout in a bookstore

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How many bookshelves does Xavier bookstore have?

Xavier bookstore that is based in Manokwari city has 4 long wall bookshelves, 7 one-face bookcases, 7 two-face bookshelves and three tables. All of them are made of wood. These furniture are used for running the brick and mortar bookshop format. In addition to this conventional bookselling business, xavier bookstore has operated an online bookshop to meet the increasing demand for books from book lovers in many islands of the country under the name toko-buku-online-sapphire.com. The walls of the Xavier bookstore are filled with paintings and drawings from local artists. For the operation of the online bookstore, actually, the number of bookshelves and tables are not as many as for brick and mortar bookshop.
If the earnings from online and brick and mortar bookstores are compared, the profit from brick and mortar one is much much higher. It is understandable because the online bookstore had just started early this year. In addition, the establishment of the online bookstore is not supported by an aggressive promotion to book lover communities on the web.
The operation of toko-buku-online-sapphire.com uses an open source e-commerce software called zencart. Although it has not given significant earnings, it greatly helps sell out our old stock of books. In my conclusion, independent bookstore owners need to see the possibilities for their shops to go online.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wooden Bookshelves for Bookstore

The following wooden bookshelf for bookstore merchandise display is a modified version of the bookcase that I had designed and shown in my previous post, Bookshelves for Bookstore. I added some shelves on both sides of the bookshelves. Because the spaces for the books are limited, only small number of books can be displayed in standing position. If the books that will be put on these shelves are small, two or three can be arranged side by side in the standing position with front covers facing the customers. If space for the aisle is too narrow, it will create what is called "bottle neck." People will not be able to walk freely along the aisles because there are other people standing between the aisles blocking their way.
Bookshelves Picture
The normal distance or space between the bookshelves is 1.5 meters. Therefore, the addition of side shelving at the bookcase must not hamper the movement of book lovers walking through the bookshelves.
The design of wooden bookshelves for bookstore is not always the same as for the library or study room. Books that are arranged on the shelves in the library do not necessarily have to be put in standing position with front covers facing the book lovers. They can be arranged in standing position with bound sides facing the readers. by Charles Roring
Also read: Wall Bookshelves for Bookstore

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bookshelves for bookstore

The bookshelves that I have just designed and shown in this post are for floor display. The books can be put on the shelves on standing position with front covers facing the readers. The height of this bookshelf is 1.45 meters but it can be expanded to 2.5 meters as the maximum height for people to reach the books on the top shelf. The way the books are displayed on the shelves in standing position with front covers facing the customers may not be efficient for space management but it can effectively increase the impulse buying. When the impulse buying is high, the profit or sales that a bookstore can make per square meter of floor size will also high. In retail business, impulse purchases can be increased through improvements on in-store displays, and store layouts. I have got six bookshelves with designs similar to the ones that are shown in this post. These bookshelves are simple and not difficult to be manufactured by furniture production companies.
Picture of Bookshelf Design 1
Because the books can be arranged on both sides of the shelves, the bookshelves are more stable for floor display. To ensure the stability of the shelves against the collision with customers while they were walking through the isles, the foundation is made slightly wider than the shelves.
Picture of Bookshelf Design 2
While designing this bookshelves using Google Sketchup 8, I choose wood as the material both for the posts and the shelves. The cross section of the shelves look hollow. If they cannot be manufactured in your town, you can ask local carpenter to make them using wood as the main material. The shelves can be of solid forms. As a matter of fact they have to be made of solid materials. I only want to show the contour of the shelves that are made slightly inclined to help customers read the front covers of the book easily. As a matter of fact, when the books are placed on the shelves that are upright relative to the books, the merchandise will not buckle. However, as a bookstore owner, you are free to choose any materials that you like for displaying your merchandise.There are many other variations for the design of bookshelves that can be used by bookstore managers in displaying their merchandise. I will design some more bookshelves in my later posts. by Charles Roring
Also read: Bookshelf Design

Monday, June 20, 2011

Paper Based Bookstore versus E-book Online Bookstore

Bookstore owners are anxious to see the rapid development of ebook reader technology that are now trying to gain significant market share in bookselling business. People who buy Kindle (from Amazon), Sony E-book reader or Kobo (from Borders) can have at least 1,000 ebooks in their reading devices.
E-books are sold in prices that are cheaper than the conventional paper based books. The ebook reading devices are offered to book lovers by electronic manufacturers and online bookstores such as the Amazon.com, and Borders.
Because more books can now be obtained for free from the internet, bookstores in developed countries such as Canada, United States, Korea, Japan, and Europe, will see reduction in sales of their conventional paper based books. Significant decrease can also be seen in magazine and newspaper categories. This challenge in bookselling business should be met by the bookstore owners through various innovative business strategies. They can begin selling ebooks and the electronic reading devices or try to widen the categories of merchandise that they want to sell. Amazon.com as the largest bookstore in the world now sells anything from books to clothes to its customers. If Amazon.com can survive and make a lot of profit in the virtual world, other bookstore owners can follow the same path too. by Charles Roring

Wall Bookshelves for a Bookstore

Every bookstore needs bookshelves to display their merchandise. A good bookshelf has to be able to display books in a certain way to attract the attention of people who are walking inside the store looking for the books that they want to buy. The following bookshelves are suitable for books and magazine. In a bookshop, the bookshelves can be installed on a wall. I designed them using Google Sketchup. The books or magazines that are placed on the shelves face one direction, i.e. the buyers. Its foundation can be eliminated during the manufacturing if the posts are nailed or screwed to the walls. This will minimize the space that the bookshelves need thus allowing more space for alleyways that are allocated for book lovers.
Bookshelf Picture 1:

All of the front covers of the books and magazines that are displayed on these bookshelves can be seen by customers when they are standing in front of the bookshelves. This design can increase the impulse buying of the customers because they can see the front covers of the product which they want to buy. I have got one in my Xavier bookstore.
Bookshelf Picture 2:

The shelves are on the inclined positions relative to the wooden posts to maximize the number of shelves that can be put together in one unit of the bookshelf. But from the customers' point of view, they can easily read or see the front covers of the books and magazines that have been put on the shelves. This bookshelf is also suitable for home interior particularly in the study room. One positive advantage of these shelves are that they prevent the books or magazines from buckling. by Charles Roring. 
Also read: Bookshelf design for bookstore.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

POS Software in Xavier Bookstore

Xavier bookstore that I am now running uses a POS or Point of Sales software that has been developed by Bamboomedia. It is a cheap POS software that is based on Microsoft Access. It is not suitable for large bookstore with more than one cash register machine. Today, most of the modern retail stores need cash register machines that are powered by POS software. For home based bookstore owner, operating a POS software can be a complicated task to do but actually it is very simple. We only need to enter the information about the books and other merchandise into the database of the POS or inventory control system regularly. POS software is very important for the successful operation of a bookstore. Without it, all the tedious job of calculating the total revenue of the day and the quantity of books on the bookshelves will eliminate all of our time. POS and Inventory control software will make the operation of our bookstore simpler, easier and more profitable.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

How to start a home bookstore

When I started running my home based Xavier bookstore for the first time, I didn't have a lot of money. All I had was an empty room. There were no books that I could sell and there were no bookshelves either. I began my bookselling business with an idea which was selling the books that the town dwellers need. Read my previous article How to Start a Bookstore Business Without Large Capital.
Having an idea of opening a bookshop was not enough. To get loan from a bank, the idea had to be presented in a business plan. To make the business plan, I had to make a survey on the categories of books which people around my house within the radius of 5 kilometers would need. The first target market was school children. The second was parents of the school children and the last ones were university students. Why school children? Because there are 5 elementary schools and 1 junior high school around my house within the radius of 300 meters. After running the bookstore for around two years, I had to revise my business plan by changing the target market from school children to university textbooks, Christian books, computer and information technology, and agriculture.
Back to the discussion of the business plan, I wrote a plan of selling books worth of 1500 US dollars a month. To my surprise, I was only able to sell books worth of 500 US dollars at the first month of my bookselling business. Now I sell books with the value of 2,000 - 2500 US dollars. To convince a bank to give us loan, we have to make a business plan that contains detailed descriptions of how the loan would be paid back to the bank.
Bookstore Business Plan
Here are items in a business plan that you have to write about:
  • Title Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Bookselling Business Description
  • Product or Service Description that is related to your bookstore
  • Organizational Data - In this page, you have to explain who does what (from sourcing the books, to selling them) and who reports to whom. Today, the use of POS software and cash register machine have simplified the processes in bookselling business. Information captured by scanner in cash register machine is processed by Point of Sale Software that automatically updates the inventory of books on the bookshelves and orders the staff in the store room to supply new books to the shelves again. POS enables bookstore owners to know in details the performance and revenue of his business. With POS and inventory control software, bookstore manager can implement better marketing and operational strategy for the development of the bookstore.
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Operations Plan
  • Financial Information
I plan to return the loan in three years. I did it. So, if you are now considering of running a home based bookstore and do not have enough capital for it, don't worry, make a market survey, write a comprehensive business plan and meet the loan officer of a bank in your town. Commit yourself fully to your bookselling business and you will succeed in making money.
Also read: Starting an Online Bookstore

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bookstore storefront appearance

Most often people enter a bookstore if it looks attractive from outside. Therefore, bookstore owners must pay special attention to the storefront appearance. From the street where the bookshop is located, the storefront must look clean and tidy. The borders around the parking lot can also be decorated with beautiful flower plants. So, it is not only the building of the bookstore that should be well painted but also the entire atmosphere outside the bookstore that needs attention to details. The glass windows need to be wiped or cleaned everyday. To clean it, just use soft wet cloth and wipe the surface that is dirty with dust. I write this because I have just cleaned the front area of my bookstore. The storefront has to be free of wastes. Bins for organic and inorganic wastes should be put near the entrance or exit door of the bookstore to help visitors put their garbage properly. The bins have to be regularly emptied.
If the bookstore is located in a mall, the shells at the glass windows need regular cleaning. In addition, the books that are placed at the front glass windows have to be regularly changed with newly published ones, or with the best seller ones. Certain titles that are closely related to the town or city where the bookstore is can be displayed at the front windows. Special lighting for the storefront can attract more attention from the passers by to enter the bookstore.
If the bookstore that you are running is an online retail operation, the homepage of the online bookshop should be simple to allow visitors to load it faster on their computer screen. The homepage of an online bookstore should not be flooded with all titles of the newly arrived books. It is better to only present a few new titles where the entire collection of books are placed in categories usually located at the left side bar. by Charles Roring
Bookstore management system

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