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How to make money selling books from home bookstore

Updated on November 27, 2011

How I make money selling books from home based bookstore

l have been making money selling books from home for three years now. At first, I was not sure that this business would work well because I did not have enough capital to start it. With the help of my parents as the guarantor, a local bank gave me loan. I started my book selling business from my living room which I converted into a bookstore with the bank loan worth 65 million rupiahs (around 6,500 US dollars). and around 10 million rupiahs from my savings account.I named it Xavier Bookstore.

In the first month of its operation, we could only sell books worth about 5 million rupiahs (around 500 US dollars) with the gross profit of 150 US dollars. I was worried at that time. Could this bookstore survive? It was in December 2006. I worked hard to promote the bookstore, clean every bookshelves and print new book info which I gave to most of the customers who visited our bookstore. In January 2007, the selling of the books rose nearly 100%. At the moment, the average amount of books that I sell every month has reached between 28 million rupiahs to 38 million rupiahs (around 2,800 to 3,800 US dollars).

Xavier Bookstore

My Home based Xavier bookstore
My Home based Xavier bookstore

Selling books that people are looking for

How can I increase the selling of the books to those levels? The answer is simple. Sell books which people are looking for. Before we order books from publishers, we provide wish list to our customers to fill in. Every time they come to our bookstore to find the books that they need and we cannot provide them, we will always provide a form where they can order. Most of our customers fill out the form. The next two weeks, the books that they order will arrive and we only send them text messages to notify them to come to the bookstore and take the books.

To boost the selling of the books, I launched an online book selling service using wordpress blog. You can see it here, Xavier Bookstore. Although, the number of books sold through the internet is only 5 to 10% of the total monthly selling, we continue to update the blog every day. There are around 300 to 400 unique visitors in the blog per day. I am happy that I can make some money from running that online blog based bookstore that is hosted by Although my brick and mortar store closes during holidays and at night, the online bookstore continues to develop another streams of income. Besides wordpress is free, it can always serve our customers who live in many cities around Indonesian islands, the largest archipelago in the world.

Last year, I put watercolor paintings on the walls of my Xavier bookstore. Some are mine and the others are made by a Papuan artist who is my close friend. I also print these paintings in the postcard formats to meet the demand of such products from foreign tourists.

Well, that's my personal experience making money from home selling books. In today's economic downturn, many people become unemployed. I was like them three years ago. I was confused how to survive in such situation. My suggestion to them, "look inside and around you, turn your talents and combine them with the resource that you have at the moment., you can be another millionaire this year."

For those who are planning to run their own home based or online bookstore, I have provided a lot of tips in my blog Xavier bookstore. Please, see this article: Bookstore Management.

Also read: How to make money after traveling


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    • papalopp profile image

      papalopp 7 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Your Story is inspiring. Wishing you and yours continued success and health.

    • charlesroring profile image

      charlesroring 7 years ago

      Thank you for your comments. I love books that's one of the reasons why my bookstore is quite successful.

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 8 years ago from Canada

      It is so refreshing to hear positive outcomes from situations that seem dire. Congratulations and I love bookstores, lol. Great article! :)