Ernest Hemingway, Toni Morrison, Mark Twain and Jane Austen are arguably some of the greatest authors of all time. Avid readers know the work of good writers and find books enthralling and captivating. People enjoy reading books as a hobby to explore new worlds and get lost in a story. But that doesn’t mean you should run out and invest in a bookstore business.

Increased Readers, Decreased Opportunities

Studies show that the number of people engaging in reading for enjoyment grew during the 2020-2021 economy, no doubt a direct reflection of more of us staying at home, looking for new hobbies to explore due to the pandemic. It appeared as if it were going to become a trend, and the future seemed promising, especially for investors who may have thought about buying a bookstore franchise. But the numbers didn’t hold. Within the first four months of 2022, bookstore sales were down 23% compared to the same period in 2019.

But don’t be discouraged and allow your story to end there. You can still enjoy franchise ownership in an engrossing industry. In fact, there are other investment opportunities catering to hobbyist that are showing better growth, which means a greater potential ROI for you.

Digital vs. Hard Copy: Read It and Weep

There are only a handful of bookstore franchises available for entrepreneurs to look at for potential ownership opportunities. Likely, the low numbers are due to many changes in the literature industry since the advent of the digital age. True, while many people are enjoying casual reading in their free time, research shows that they’re doing their reading on electronic devices like iPads, computers and phones, rapidly making the brick-and-mortar bookstore obsolete.

Typically, it’s less expensive to buy a digital copy of a book rather than a hardbound or paperback. Not to mention the convenience factor of not having to store books on shelves or look for them in stores. How truly easy it is to read a book, for example, while on your lunch break at work — and all you need to do is pull out your phone and pick up where you left off.

Pitfalls of a Bookstore Franchise

As a potential franchisee, you want to find a niche business or one with high consumer demand. Face it, fewer people are flipping pages in a physical book these days, and those who are can easily purchase them powerhouses like Barnes and Noble or Target.

It’s hard to survive on books alone. Many bookstores evolved decades ago and supplemented publication sales with music and video sales. Once the digital age did away with CDs and DVDs, the remaining bookstores had to once again find a way to augment sales, sometimes adding cafes.

As a bookstore franchise owner, you have to ensure that you maintain a digital presence. Market studies show the hottest sellers, and you’ll have to anticipate demand for the best-seller lists. Engaging with customers means putting just as much into your brick-and-mortar transactions as connecting to customers through online sales and social media.

Even though becoming a franchise owner of a bookstore might not be the fairy tale you’d hoped for, there are many benefits to the franchising model itself. For example, you’re aware of your initial costs, you pay a franchise fee to get started in your business and you receive training, ongoing support and a marketing plan from those who know the industry.

Wild Birds Unlimited Franchise May Be Your Happy Ending

Wild Birds Unlimited is a leader in the wild bird feeding industry. Much like reading as a hobby soared during the height of the pandemic, the hobby of wild bird feeding soared to new heights as well. The backyard bird feeding market has steadily increased over the years and our brand has grown with it. We’ve led the industry for more than 40 years and have 350 locations in North America today.

Our brick-and-mortar model allows our franchise owners to become wild bird and nature experts in the communities they serve. We’ve additionally ramped up our ecommerce footprint, allowing us to improve our services and your bottom line as a franchisee.

Are you ready to be part of a fulfilling business where you can write your own story? We’re an open book. Let’s get started. Fill out the form on this page to learn more about joining our franchise flock.