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Retail 2009-11-04

Book a store of benefits

If you are a devoted book lover then opening a book store is just the right thing for you. An entrepreneur who runs a franchised book store is even luckier because the franchisee gets a famous brand backing as well. Read on to know more.

By Abha Garyali Sub Editor

A book store franchise is a better option for those who not only have a craving to become a successful entrepreneur but also have a passion for literature and reading. Books are a consumer commodity that never lose appeal and entertain everyone. A book store has multiple benefits, providing quality information to all the book lovers in search of knowledge, entertainment and even insight. A franchised book store further adds to these benefits for a franchisee as he gets along a brand backing which aids in getting more customers and popularity. Bookstores have continued to thrive where other sectors have descended.  This can be attributed to the benefits of the books. Books are eternal. The quality of knowledge or the value of knowledge delivered by books has an edge over the computer screens.

To own a book store is better than collecting books, as it turns once hobby into a profession. An entrepreneur who runs a franchised book store is even luckier because the franchisee gets a famous brand backing as well. According to S.N. Mishra, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Oxford Bookstore, “Franchising is a fastest and cost effective route to have a pan India presence and become a national brand in a shorter time. Book industry is not an exception to this and it has realised and adopted this model. At present, we have more than doubled the franchise stores than our own stores, and by 2010 it will get tripled.”

Assured success

To make the book stores more inviting, thesedays the owners employ different techniques to lure customers. The franchisee can categorise the book store into various sections like kids section, magazine section, fictions, non-fictions, award winning autobiographies, novelists- both national and international etc to attract all kinds of book lovers. Moreover the entrepreneur can make his bookstore work by including a voice proof lounge for reading peacefully in the outlet. For the youngsters there can be a coffee and a games corner as well.

Key players

There is a tremendous growth in this sector as more and more national and international players are seeing India as a prospective market for book lovers.  Regarding this Mishra says, “Growth in the book industry is tremendous, as India’s literacy rate is increasing and is now above 70 per cent. Reading habit is also increasing in similar pattern.” Some of the main players in this sector are Oxford bookstore, Crosswords, Corner book store and Odyssey bookstore which have been doing very well. Many of the book stores have already added coffee shops to attract the youth.

Requisites for a book store

As such, there are no specific requirements for running a book store franchise, but an entrepreneur should enjoy reading, have familiarity with the books to guide the customers and most important is to enjoy talking to people. Mishra shares, “While appointing any franchisee few things are taken into consideration like city, location, place, feasibility, viability, franchise background and involvement. All these factors are considered prior to appointing a franchisee.”

Now coming to the most significant aspect of taking a franchise of a book store, investment, for a franchised store one can say it is quite low as compared to the benefits reaped in the future. The franchise fee can range from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 lakh and above. This is in relation to the area required, from 100 sq. ft to 2,500 sq. ft. So the aspiring franchisees with less investment can opt for a small area and low fees and can keep adding to make it bigger and better.

Moreover the book store franchise is the best route for success, for those who are not from business background and want to become entrepreneurs. The company shares all the technical know-how, trains the staff, assists in store set-up, provides software support and helps to run a store as per set SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure).

Hurdles faced

A franchisee in this business need not have fear of failure as book lovers are there to make his business a success. Nevertheless, the franchisee may have to face some challenges in initial stages of the business like promoting the store, addressing customer’s queries and requirements, recruiting manpower, training, streamlining store operations and inventory as per customer’s choice.

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