Learn How to Start an Used Book Store Online

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Darren Johnson / EyeEm

Businesses begin with an idea, then they're formed in steps. Many of the initial steps can be inexpensive or even free. They can pretty much be done in your spare time. But a large part of forming a business involves research and analysis, so the sooner you start, the better.

General Steps to Starting An Online Book Seller Business

Even if you have very little money, you can gather enough books to fill an eStore and start an online business for less than a few hundred dollars – including the inventory.

There are several great ways to find used books, magazines, videos and even video games for free, so you should be able to build enough of an inventory to start your own business. But you'll have to see to a few things before you begin building up your stock. 

Start by choosing a name for your business, writing a business plan, and determining the legal requirements in your state for starting a business. They can vary from state to state. Then follow these easy steps to get your business started. 

Stock Up 

You can get books for free or for next to nothing to build an initial stock of used books. Numerous websites are out there to help you out, such as FreeCycle, PaperBack Swap, and BookCrossing. Go to yard sales. Shop discount racks. Hunt up deals on Amazon. Check with publishers for discounts on bulk orders, especially on books that have been out of print for a while. Copies are probably sitting in their warehouses with nowhere to go so they might be glad to hear from you.

 

Get a Federal Tax ID Number 

You'll need a tax ID for your tax returns, as well as for business licenses, bank accounts and any permits your state may require. Go to the website of the Internal Revenue Service and apply online. It's free. You should have a number within about two weeks. 

Register Your Business Name

The process for registering your business name can vary from state to state.

Sometimes it's free, but it usually costs less than $25 even if there's a fee. You'll have to decide on a name and make sure no one else within your state is using it. You can usually do this online. Your state's website should walk you through the steps to register a business name.  

Get a Business License

Not all local jurisdictions and states require business licenses for online operations. Contact your city hall or your county clerk to find out if you must take this step. Go online to your state's website to learn state requirements. Even if you must get a license, it may be free and it probably won't cost more than $25 or so. 

Buy a Website Domain Name

Visit GoDaddy, Google Domains or any number of other sites that allow you to claim a domain name so you can park your business on the Internet where traffic can find you. This can be as cheap as $9.95 a year. 

Find Free Website Hosting Offers

This sometimes goes hand in hand with buying your domain name. Services usually offer you the option to purchase hosting as well. They're often free, but you get what you pay for. Many offer better features and support if you pay a nominal fee.

Use public domain software, which is unrestricted and free, or open source software – there are often restrictions on these programs, but they are also free.

You're on your way after you lay these things in place. If you're not really Internet savvy and some of these steps leave you scratching your head, consider taking a class or two to bring you up to speed before you jump in with both feet.