How to start a church bookstore

how to start a church bookstore

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Mar 01, According to church bookstore expert David Gonzales of Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Eagle Communications, two of the most important aspects of starting a church bookstore are identifying the foundational beliefs of the church and the type of ministry the church provides. Sep 26, Start a buzz in the church newsletter. When the bookstore gets ready to open, you'll also want to put an announcement into the community newspapers. Design a website to attract online book buyers. Invite fellow church members and site visitors to make book recommendations and participate in discussion groups.

Initiating and operating a church bookstore in your community is a great way to not only encourage an exchange of ideas and shared philosophies amongst your target clientele but also to help raise money for worthy causes that your church endorses. In addition, its neighborhood presence can attract potential new members to the congregation as well as serve as the backdrop for book discussion groups, lectures, church socials, newcomers' meetings and religious studies classes and workshops.

Here are some tips on how to decide what type of merchandise to sell in your shop and how to generate local support in launching a successful opening. Identify your core demographic. For instance, will the bookstore primarily be for the benefit of the members of your congregation or do you want to attract non-members to the products and services the store has to offer?

Determine the best location for your bookstore. Is there currently an unused space on the church grounds that would lend itself to your vision? If your target market how to start a church bookstore strictly the congregation, your "built-in" audience can easily visit it before or after church services. If you want to court non-members, however, your shop needs to be visible, have convenient parking and be open more hours.

Research the community bookstores within closest proximity to where you want to open shop. For your bookstore to be a success, it has to offer something different from the competition. A Christian-specific bookstore, for example, is a different enterprise from a retail chain even though the latter may offer religious titles. Decide what you want to sell. Will it strictly be reading material or do you also want to offer items such as greeting cards, bookmarks, stationery, coffee mugs and picture frames?

Research how you're going to acquire your initial inventory. If all how to delete junk mail folder on ipad the books in stock are going to be new, you'll need to survey publishers and query what kind of discounts they can offer.

If the books are going to how to start a church bookstore used editions, will you be relying on donated copies or investing the time in trolling flea markets? If products other than books are going to be sold, you'll need to identify vendors and get estimates of their prices.

Determine whether the bookstore can be a multi-use facility. If the space is large enough, for instance, it could be used for meetings, lectures, tutoring or Bible study classes.

Decide how your bookstore will be staffed. Unless you feel comfortable running the entire show by how to cook spare ribs pork, you'll need to have an assistant or two.

Ideally these can be volunteers from your congregation or students who want the experience or school credits provided by an internship. Visit the website of the Small Business Administration. This not only walks you through the steps of starting up a new business but also offers advice on how to secure a loan.

Since it's unlikely that the church itself will underwrite your enterprise, you'll be responsible for acquiring the capital to get things off the ground. Present your proposal to the church clergy. Whether the bookstore is going to be set up on the church grounds or in a separate facility, the more benefit they can see to the members of the congregation, the more likely they are to support it. Start a buzz in the church newsletter. When the bookstore gets ready to open, you'll also want to put an announcement into the community newspapers.

Design a website to attract online book buyers. Invite fellow church members and site visitors to make book recommendations and participate in discussion groups. Consider putting your bookstore on wheels.

This unique aspect of distribution would appeal to congregations with older members who aren't getting out as much as they used to. A mobile bookstore will also increase the visibility of the church because it can be driven to different locations throughout the community.

As with any mobile operation, of course, you'll need to make sure you have the appropriate business licenses from your city or county.

If a brick and mortar operation just isn't feasible, don't rule out the inventiveness of a "virtual" church bookstore. The advantage is that you can run the entire business yourself from home and, further, not have to worry about the storage space needed to carry a full inventory. When a customer wants a particular book, your only job is to sleuth out where to find it and order it for them.

If you're not sure whether your new bookstore is going to be successful, it's better to lease a space than to buy an existing store and then worry about having to sell it. Your store will need to comply with federal regulations regarding access by individuals with disabilities stairs, narrow aisles, curb cuts. It will also need to comply with fire safety regulations. If you have employees working for you, you'll need to carry workers' comp insurance. Ghostwriter and film consultant Christina Hamlett has written professionally since Her credits include many books, plays, optioned features, articles and interviews.

She also travels extensively and is a gourmet chef. Share It. Com Parable Small Business notes.

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Sep 13, Is God leading you to start a bookstore in your church? Learn how to launch and operate a church bookstore by attending Retailing ReBoot West, to be held Oct. at Cottonwood Church in Los Alamitos, Calif. For more information, contact Derek Bjork at [email protected], call him at ext. or click here. In Christian retail stores, books and Bibles continue to be a significant portion of salescollectively 58% of identifiable sales in (as reported by U.S. independent Christian retailers and church bookstores to ParableConnect). Click here to view the top 20 bestselling books and the top 20 Bibles through Christian retail in May 27, A church bookstore is a unique way to make money for a church, as well as to supply Christian materials to others. Find out how to start a church bookstore b.

We hope these reflections are helpful to every church that wants to instill sound doctrine in their members through books that are both affordable and faithful.

How much? It depends on how big you want your inventory to be. If you have 5 copies of each title, that means you could carry 80 different titles.

You can scale that estimate up or down depending on the size and needs of your congregation. Some of those items can be found here. At our church, we leave all books out at all times. The advantage to this is that the books are on hand when pastors or church members want to give them away for discipleship or evangelism. The disadvantage is that some books get taken off the bookstall outside sales hours are and subsequently unaccounted for. People take books and then forget to leave cash or pay during normal hours.

The cost of such an open policy will vary based on the size of the church, size of the bookstall, and use made of the bookstall by church staff and members. At our church, the deacon of the bookstall is responsible for regularly reminding staff and the congregation to properly account for books taken during off hours.

These regular reminders have decreased the cost of an open policy. Our goal is to sell books at the lowest possible price that permits the bookstall to be self-sustaining. We also build sales tax into the price. Nonetheless, we have several of them built in at the back of our auditorium.

This means the books are easily accessible. That said, our corner layout does cause some traffic problems after the morning service. Our bookstall is operated by volunteers and is open for business immediately following all public gatherings. We stay open for at least 30 minutes after and try to remain open until everyone is done looking.

After years of only accepting cash and checks, our church recently invested in a point-of-sale POS system called Square Register, which we mentioned above.

It works very well, but it does charge a 2. It also tracks inventory, which has been hugely helpful and saved lots of volunteer hours. Even though churches are tax-exempt organizations, our local DC law requires us to collect and remit sales tax. This is a matter of state tax law and is something your church should look into before setting up a bookstall. Another potential tax issue is UBIT unrelated business income tax. Most churches do not need to pay income tax on their book sales, but this is also something you should examine with advice from qualified professionals.

Square makes it easy to add sales tax and inform the IRS of payments collected. Before switching to an electronic point-of-sale system, we used a paper sales sheet to track sales. The sales sheet was a computer spreadsheet that was sorted by author for ease of use by bookstall volunteers. The volunteer printed this sheet for each bookstall opening, marked the books sold, and then totaled up the sales after they closed. A photocopy of the last page of the sales sheet went into an envelope with the cash and checks for the church staff member who deposited funds.

Square offers a way of tracking inventory and setting up alerts when an item is low or out of stock. We recommend applying for a certification of tax exemption from your state government. Such a certification allows you to make tax-free purchases on behalf of the church. We try to maintain full shelves by ordering based on current inventory levels, the popularity of given books, and special events or situations that will lead to a spike in demand.

For example, we buy lots of copies of Who Is Jesus? On most items, these distributors sell for 41 percent off the retail price. Some are discounted more, some less.

You would need to set up an account with IPAGE, and we believe they require you to have a tax exemption certificate see number 8 above. Sign up for their promotional emails. They send out lots of good deals, and their clearance section is usually good.

You might consider calling them and see what kind of options they have for church bookstalls. We rarely purchase from CBD and Amazon for hard-to-find books, since their prices are usually higher. When orders come in, we first check them against the packing lists to see if books are missing from the order or if any books are damaged. We would then add 2. How much to charge is a matter of wisdom for each church. You can simply write the price on the label, or it is easy to download a template from Avery and print a sheet of stickers.

When a cash payment is accepted, the Square drawer opens. Every month or so we run low on one dollar bills and replenish them from the bank. Books are added to our bookstall only by pastoral staff. Frequently, members will request that a book be added, and the answer is always to talk to a pastor. This helps maintain a level of confidence in the books on the bookstall, particularly that an elder has recommended each title. Some books are so valuableand so expensivethat a church may decide to subsidize the sale of that book.

One example was the book Christianity Explained. Because we sell at cost, we sometimes get requests to ship books to purchasers around the country. We refuse these requests for at least two reasons. First, the strain on our volunteers would be great.

Second, it would reduce the quantity of books available on our bookstall for purchase by our members and visitors. In addition, we suspect but do not know that there would be income tax implications if we began selling in such a way. The only control is that they require the signature of a bookstall volunteer. Their sale is noted on the last page of our Sales Sheet.

Square allows the customer to receive a receipt either by text message or email. We used to do paper receipts, but have had few complaints since we switched to electronic receipts only.

Square allows returns through its system. Justin Sok works in Washington, D. You can find him on Twitter at jwadesok. Paul Conner is a journalist based in Washington, D. You can find him on Twitter at paconner. Our work is possible by the generosity of our readers. Give Today. Read Now Ask a Question . Resources Donate. Episode On Deacons with Matt Smethurst. Article Your goal is not to include every Christian book you can, or even every good Christian book you can.

The goal is to highlight the particular books you really want your congregation to read. For that reason, our church treats book selection as a pastoral responsibility. Every book on the book stall has been added by a pastor. You can buy any book in the world on the internet. By Justin Sok , Paul Conner. More articles tagged as: Discipleship Pastoring. Support 9Marks Our work is possible by the generosity of our readers.

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