I hear so much about how opening a bookstore now would be too risky. E-books, e-readers, online competition, video games, tablets, smart phones, it seems we have a perfect storm of negative pressure on bookstores.The chains are struggling, many indies are struggling, the press is full of stories about weakness in the bricks, mortar and paper book market.
Yet my customer base grows. I now sell to more booksellers who sell more in more venues. They often have a physical presence, either a storefront, and/or regular expos or fairs, plus internet marketplace sales (eBay, Amazon, Alibris, etc.), plus some kind of direct marketing. The storefronts that rely more on used and bargain books seem to be doing better now than they were a few years ago, though that observation might just be based on my increasing abilities and their diminishing reliance on "new" books.
I think that if one does not expect to get rich, and is willing to work hard, and has resources, this is a good time to open such a business. The folks who ruined the old ways are now moving on to other things, such as marketing e-books and electronic devices, or bankruptcy court. The customers who are still buying books will continue to do so for some time to come, and will look for the interesting place to buy. The incredible growth in e-reader and e-book sales has not been matched, not by a million miles, by a decline in book sales. On the contrary, some categories have remained flat or continued to grow.
This means there has been a huge increase in the number of people buying "books." These were not all your customers. These are people who thought of books, if they thought at all, as uninteresting alternatives to TV or other entertainment. As the years go by, we will see some of these folks start to buy books.
Back to the email, I have lists to send, and new customers to send them to.