Starting a Bookshop

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: November 2016
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • Qualifications and skills
  • Key market issues and trends
  • Trading, commercial and legal issues
  • Legislation
  • Further information

Bookshops source and retail a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books for adults and children, as well as audiobooks and maps, and often a small range of music CDs, DVDs, stationery, gifts and greeting cards. Some bookshops specialise in particular sub-sectors such as children's books, academic books, or rare and collectible titles. As well as trading from traditional high-street premises, many bookshops sell online and via mail order. Some sell second-hand books, often from local market stalls.

Independent bookshops face intense competition from major bookshop chains such as Waterstones, as well as from online retailers of printed books and e-books, and leading online marketplaces such as Amazon and Alibris. Although e-book sales and sales of the Kindle e-reader showed signs of slowing after a high-point in 2013 and print sales began to revive, the long-term future of the printed book is uncertain. Reduced footfall on the high street has also affected demand for traditional bookshops.

This profile provides information about starting up and running a bookshop. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and some of the key trading issues. It also explains the legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information and support.

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