The book-selling industry is changing rapidly, and the changes aren't all good for booksellers. The advent of online retailers and e-readers have caused the brick-and-mortar book industry to suffer, and selling actual books in a competitive marketplace saturated with e-readers is increasingly challenging. However, it's still possible to run a successful book business.

Knowing the Market

Knowing your market is key to making any business succeed, but in the struggling book industry, it's especially important. Select the demographic to which you wish to sell books, and provide books and services that are pleasing to them. Conduct market research to determine what your target demographic reads. In today's competitive industry, offering bestsellers is typically not enough; you need to ensure that the books your customers want are readily available. If you run a brick-and-mortar store, display new books regularly. Many book buyers browse book stores specifically to discover new books and authors.

Offering Something Different

Successful bookstores offer something unique to their customers. For example, there are feminist book stores, gay book stores and children's book stores. Try to pick a theme that caters to your target demographic. If your demographic is highly diverse, market your business as a place that offers excellent selection, then follow through on that promise. For brick-and-mortar stores, author events, a coffee shop and comfortable reading areas can all be part of an effective marketing strategy.

Minimizing Costs

In an era of online book selling and bargain hunting, it's vital to minimize your costs. This may mean that it's a better choice for you to run on online book selling business than a brick-and-mortar store. Keeping a qualified, highly engaged part-time staff can help you minimize turnover and training expenses. If you're running an independent book store, try stocking it with second-hand shelves and furnishings. This will give it a unique look and save you money in start-up costs.

Choosing a Location

Choose a location that fits your target demographic. This is true whether you're selling online or at a store. Stores should be accessible, convenient and inviting. Online sites should properly target the right demographic using keywords and search terms. If you're selling off of a major website, choose a website that caters to your demographic. For example, if you're selling fan fiction, you might try partnering with fan websites.

Providing Good Service

Good service is increasingly important. People expect prompt delivery and easy checkouts from online retailers, so make sure you can provide this. At brick-and-mortar stores, friendly and unobtrusive service is the gold standard. Your employees should be welcoming and friendly, and should be qualified to help your patrons. They should also allow patrons to shop on their own without trying to upsell -- get the customer to buy more expensive products -- or otherwise interfering with the shopping experience.