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Book business in Singapore

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ecsy911
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Book business in Singapore

Postby ecsy911 » Tue, 04 Oct 2011 9:43 am

Hi,
was wondering if anyone has ideas about the book business in Singapore? I'm thinking of having a children's bookstore, any advice? Do children still like books? Do parents still buy books or is it just ipads and gadgets these days?

Thanks in advance for any feedback!

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sundaymorningstaple
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 04 Oct 2011 11:25 am

You might want to rethink your plans...

http://alwaysblend.wordpress.com/2011/0 ... singapore/

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Postby ecsy911 » Tue, 04 Oct 2011 5:22 pm

That is of course a concern, which is why I thought of asking around.

My idea was specialising on Children's books though, and hence wondering if parents / teachers are still likely to buy books for their children, especially young children. Do correct me if i'm wrong!

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Postby Mi Amigo » Tue, 04 Oct 2011 5:44 pm

Interesting idea, although you may find that between Popular and Kinokuniya (plus Borders at Parkway Parade for as long as it remains open) there is already reasonable availability of children's books. Not wishing to deter you in any way, just suggesting you check out the existing outlets to see if there's enough of a gap in the market for a niche childrens' bookstore.

My other advice (not really mine, but recycled from many sources) would of course be to have a strong internet presence, but I'm sure you've already got that on the list.

Good luck!
Be careful what you wish for

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Postby ecsy911 » Tue, 04 Oct 2011 5:55 pm

Thanks for the advice! Definitely need to do these kind of research.

Internet presence is good definitely, its just so hard (for me) to motivate myself without a shop. (excuses excuses)

The idea was to have a small cafe linked to the shop. Would that be any better?

I don't have much other ideas for businesses really, which is why this is all I've been able to think of.....

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Postby Mi Amigo » Tue, 04 Oct 2011 6:08 pm

When I lived in the USA one of my favourite things at the weekend was to spend an hour or two at the local bookshop. You could buy a cup of coffee, sit in a comfy chair, and read half a book - no-one told you to hurry up and either buy it or go away. It had a great atmosphere and seemed to do good business - I nearly always ended up buying at least one book.

However, here in Singapore, even Borders with their 'standing only' apporach failed to make a decent profit (or so it seems), and Kinokuniya also has a distinct lack of seating. So it would seem that the current thinking is that if you offer seating and have a coffee shop, people will just sit there for hours and spend little or nothing. I don't know if that's really true, but finding out might be expensive. Again, I'm not trying to put a downer on the idea, just highlighing potential pitfalls.
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Postby QRM » Tue, 04 Oct 2011 7:38 pm

If its free locals will camp there for the free aircon and buy nothing. Since my sprog (5 years old) got hold of the ipad with the huge selection of kids books available on itunes and ibooks she has not bought a "real book" in ages.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 04 Oct 2011 9:06 pm

QRM wrote:If its free locals will camp there for the free aircon and buy nothing. Since my sprog (5 years old) got hold of the ipad with the huge selection of kids books available on itunes and ibooks she has not bought a "real book" in ages.


In addition to that, the stock gets dirty, dog-eared and even has pages torn out of magazines. Not counting notes jotted in the margins! Buy something? You gotta be kidding! :-|

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Postby ecsy911 » Tue, 04 Oct 2011 9:16 pm

I thought only the teenagers/adults do that (the dog-marking and bending bookspines etc), I was hoping children wouldn't! Don't mind me saying but what about foreigners? Because i noticed the comment about locals and the original 'target' customers i had in mind were more geared towards expat parents (and their children of course).

Yeah the issues mentioned have crossed my mind, am trying to think if there are ways to work around them....

Would a pretty cosy cafe alone be a better idea???

Mi Amigo: I like nothing better than sitting and reading with a cup of coffee too, but I guess its not as popular here.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 04 Oct 2011 10:19 pm

I think your real challenge in Singapore would be developing the niche clientele to support a narrowly defined bookstore such as you have proposed.

For example, there is a niche bookstore in Houston, "Murder by the Book", which, as you might guess, specializes in mystery, thriller, and such. The key to its success is a knowledgeable staff that knows both its customers and the world of mysteries, action, thriller, and such. It is the personal touch that keeps them alive.

I question whether you can do the same with children's books. Can you meet the 'capacity' of Kinokuniya in terms of sheer selection? And can you attract parents to something 'special' without the problems as noted above... love your aircon but I aint buyin' nothing.

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Postby QRM » Wed, 05 Oct 2011 8:39 am

The problem is how do you keep the locals out? then you are effectively killing your largest market.

Now if you open a cafe with Brain engorging Oxygen therapy, maths study books, and free English tutoring (after the purchase of an oxygen package.) then you might be onto a winner with locals fighting to get in the door.

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Postby ecsy911 » Wed, 05 Oct 2011 8:53 am

Well I wouldnt want to keep the all the locals out, just select ones. I like to think the more affluent parents wouldnt be doing those things mentioned!

Maybe there needs to be education to the general public that its not just about scoring in exams, but reading good books from a young age....


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Postby beppi » Wed, 05 Oct 2011 1:11 pm

ecsy911 wrote:I thought only the teenagers/adults do that (the dog-marking and bending bookspines etc), I was hoping children wouldn't!

Yes, children go straight to tearing out pages!

My two-year-old got an iPad as well (my wife is in IT, so I have no say over the matter) and loves children's eBooks, because pictures wiggle and there is sound. I must say many of these eBooks are very well made, and you have a worldwide choice rather than the limited selection a local shop would have (i.e. books that sell well - we're sick of yet another Disney, Thomas the Tank Engine or Dr. Seuss tome!). In addition, there are no torn pages and the iPad is thankfully robust.

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Postby ecsy911 » Wed, 05 Oct 2011 2:06 pm

Thanks for your feedback everyone :)


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