Starting a bookstore

z1freeridez1freeride Posts: 1subscriber
edited August 2006 in Selecting a Business
I live in a small college town where there is no Barnes and Noble or Borders.  The local College`s bookstore is way overpriced and I want to compete with them.  I plan on making my "bookstore" into a Hub (Bookstore/Live Music/Smoothie or Coffe shop).Does anyone have any knowledge about starting up a bookstore?  I`m guessing I buy directly from the publishers in volume.  How would I go about contacting them?Thanks,Chris

Comments

  • NicoleCNicoleC Posts: 18subscriber
    Chris, I don`t know about starting a bookstore; but when I worked in academia, I placed my program`s book orders.  I actually placed them with two sources the on campus bookstore and an online company.  Each semester I would provide both with the course number, course name, professor name, Title, Author, Version, ISBN and quantity needed.  Depending upon the professor the textbook, coursepack and other relevant course materials could change from semester to semester. 
    The best part about selling college textbooks is as soon as the college students find out they can find what they need for less you have instant verbal marketing!  Have you already completed a SWOT assessment (strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) of both you and your competition?  In addition, it might help to look at sites like: http://www.ecampus.com/</A> 
    Wish you well and hope the above is helpful.
  • z1freeridez1freeride Posts: 1subscriber
    Thanks for your reply!  So you were a professor/teacher at a school?  That`s a good idea - to contact the Departments of the school directly and find out what books they require for the next semester.  I`ll have to do that."The best part about selling college textbooks is as soon as the
    college students find out they can find what they need for less you
    have instant verbal marketing!"Yes, I know!  I`m a student also, and about 75% of the student body just purchase their text books from the school.  I really think my business model can be successful.
  • z1freeridez1freeride Posts: 1subscriber
    "Also be prepared for some hoops to jump through, when you include the
    smoothie/coffee side, from the health department. You must include that
    element but it just adds a lot to your already full plate of running a
    business."Good Call.  I probably will wait on that until I get established and know what I`m doing.
  • NicoleCNicoleC Posts: 18subscriber
    I was the program coordinator of a distance learning program at a public higher education institution.  In a simplified explanation, I  managed the progress of various projects and was the liasion with audio/visual/TV studio technicians, computer technicians/IT personnel, vendors, faculty, and various departments.  It was my responsibility to ensure everything ran smoothly both in the aspect of student services (walkins and online); in course development and course distribution.
    Just out of curiosity does your campus bookstore have exclusivity rights?  If so then the departments and faculty have to order their coursepack and textbooks with the campus bookstore.  However, if the students have the ISBN, title and version of publication then they can purchase from whomever they choose.
    Another question is have you researched to determine when the current campus bookstore contract expires?  The reason I ask is because most public institutions have RFP`s (request for proposals).  An RFP is where other vendors can bid for the campus` contract(s).  If you don`t already have this information and if it is a public institution then you might be able to find out specifics of the existing contract by submitting a written freedom of information request and/or speaking with their financial department regarding how to become approved to be a prime vendor.
    Hope this is helpful and best wishes!
  • z1freeridez1freeride Posts: 1subscriber
    Just out of curiosity does your campus bookstore have exclusivity rights?  If so then the departments and faculty have to order their coursepack and textbooks with the campus bookstore.  However, if the students have the ISBN, title and version of publication then they can purchase from whomever they choose.
    Another question is have you researched to determine when the current campus bookstore contract expires?  The reason I ask is because most public institutions have RFP`s (request for proposals).  An RFP is where other vendors can bid for the campus` contract(s).  If you don`t already have this information and if it is a public institution then you might be able to find out specifics of the existing contract by submitting a written freedom of information request and/or speaking with their financial department regarding how to become approved to be a prime vendor.
    Hope this is helpful and best wishes!Wow.  You`re a huge help!  I`m not sure if the college bookstore has exclusivity rights.  The students CAN buy from wherever they wish (I do - ebay).  However, MOST don`t because most students are rather naive (right out of high school).I don`t know when the bookstore`s contract expires nor do I know that they even have one.  It is a State College, so I`m sure I could find out as you suggest.So, the school can have multiple contracts with multiple vendors, right?  Would that cost me extra to be a prime vendor?I mean, I can pose as a student and get a list of all the books that are required about 2-3 months before the semester starts directly from the college bookstore.  And then I would buy new books from publishers and used books from ebay or other students.Do you think it would be worthwhile to become a prime vendor?Thank you so much for any info!Chris
  • NicoleCNicoleC Posts: 18subscriber
    Chris,
    Whether the school can have multiple contracts with multiple vendors depends on the negotiated contract(s).  Some times contracts have exclusivity clauses within them; other times they have a penalty clause which means they receive compensation if the campus uses other vendors for the services they provide.
    A good place to find specific information would be on the campus` financial department`s website or better yet their procurement department.  On those websites they will sometimes provide information on their procurement procedures, how to become a prime vendor/bid on contracts, and what requirements they have of their vendors (liability insurance, etc.).  They may even state if they accept multiple vendors or if they only award to one vendor per service. 
    Regarding if it is worthwhile to become a prime vendor, depends on your business objectives. However, it doesn`t hurt to know what options are available.
  • infinique1infinique1 Posts: 0subscriber Member
    Book stores hardly make any money. That's because there would be lot's of books that won't be sold off. It's unless you know what sells and what doesn't. It has the potential to chalk up big losses. Moreover, you need to invest a lot on inventory softwares and RFID tagging to know the exact location of the books. Next you need an CRM software to check which book sells and what doesn't.
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