As a proprietor to a used-books store, I am dependent upon a number of factors, including competition, politics, laws, economics, social practices, and local culture, that will impact my business success. To be successful in business, I have to obtained enough revenues, i.e., sell enough books, to be able to offset the expenses incurred for the business. After expenses are deducted from revenues, I will use the remaining amount to expand the business.
Before talking about profits, I have to be conscious of the business factors. If a university, which has its own library and bookstore, is situated near my book shop or if there is a Barnes & Noble store, which has more funds for marketing, I might have problems grabbing market share. As for politics and laws, if laws are implemented that would allow authors to seek royalty payments from sellers of second-hand books, my expenses will increase. For economics, given that buying and selling is subject to supply and demand and prices, people might be stringently looking for cheaper second-hand books, the prices of which are readily available in the Internet, specifically in E-bay. As for local culture, people are using the Internet nowadays to read for information – note that even newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and the New York times have online versions of their newspapers, and they are mostly offering it for free. E-books or copies of almost any book have also been illegally posted in the Internet. With the presence of the computer and the Internet, some studies have suggested that less people are reading paper copies or actual books and instead will use their computers to watch movies, research information, and obtain entertainment. The presence of Internet in the area, and the number of homes having access to that technology will certainly affect my sales.
Five years from now, my greatest struggle with my second-hand book shop will be innovation of the Internet. Since the advent of the Internet in the 1990s, more and more people have been given access to it, and Internet subscription has gone cheaper. The Internet allows people to (i) read books online, and (ii) order second-hand books from auction sites. However, I could also do some innovation of my own. I could place a lounge in my used book stores, and wire an Internet connection in my store. In that way people could use the Internet, and look over my portfolio of second-hand books to obtain information.