Where in Australia can I find stock for my new bookshop?

I live in a regional mining town in Queensland Australia with a population of
90,000 and over the last few months a friend of mine have decided that we
are going to start researching our business idea.

We would like to open a bookstore cafe. From the bookstore perspective it
would have both a new and used section, at this stage not focusing on a
particular niche genre. The cafe will be connected to the bookstore and
ideally you would need to walk through the cafe to get to the books. It
would be a pre-prepared cafe, as in no hot food unless able to be toasted in
a sandwich press or heated in a microwave. That is sandwiches, paninis,
cakes, biscuits and such. And of course good coffee.

The cafe would also be set out so that there is an indoor lounging area.
Comfortable chairs and sofa and an outdoor garden area with outdoor tables
and chairs. The atmosphere we want to create is an environment where you can
peruse the bookshop holding you takeaway coffee and once your selection has
been made, sit down relax and spend time reading. The idea is to get them
into the store for the books and make them stay longer with the food and
coffee. We also want to organise weekly book clubs and “reading times” for
children while their mothers sit and chat over coffee and cake.

I have worked in the hospitality industry for over 10 years (my parents
owned a restaurant/bar, which i helped run) but am currently working in the
IT industry. Both myself and my friend are obsessed with food and books,
with both of us owning large book collections. The town we are in has two
small franchise book stores and one middle sized second hand book store.
None of the existing books stores have a “stay for awhile” atmosphere
whereas cafes in town, as long as they are in the right street and have
outdoor seating, seem to do well. The most important thing we know for our
store to suceed is to find the perfect location that would allow us to do
this and we are willing to wait until we find it.

We are in the process of researching our idea and trying to figure out how
to do a business plan. At the moment there seems to be so much to think
about that we are not too sure where to start.

One question that I seem to always come back to is how do we get our hands
on stock.  We would like to sell a combination of new and old stock.  The
old stuff would be easier with estate sales, garage sales, church sales.
But what process do we go through to set up connections with publishing
companies and how do we know if we are paying too much.

Any help or advice that you could advise would be much appreciated, I love
your blog and think your website is amazing.


6 thoughts on “Where in Australia can I find stock for my new bookshop?”

  1. The only way I know to get new current release books in Australia is open an acct with the various publishers/distributors. Some will let you have a cash account, others have a pretty high minimum annual purchase. Discount off RRP can be as low as 30% with a cash account. If you want to compete on bestsellers with a discount chain it can be very difficult, if there isn’t one nearby you should be okay.

    There is a shop in Richmond Melbourne though that does exactly what you want to do very well with a limited range of bestsellers a good ranger of secondhand and a cafe that is always busy

  2. Sorry I don’t have an answer regarding where to get stock but one thing that rolled through my mind while reading you article is, “What if someone takes a cup of coffee into the bookstore section and spills it on one or more books.” – I’m sure you would have to watch for that.

    Also would a customer be allowed to take a book from the bookstore section into the cafe, read and eat and then walk away and not purchase the book? I could imagine the next customer opening a ‘new’ book and finding crumbs in it.

    • Paul,

      We served coffee in our shop – got to be pretty well know for my great machiatos… in almost 4 years not one drop of coffee found the inside of a book. One found the floor in a hurry, but none in the books, I shouldn’t think that need be a concern. The few folks that look over more expensive editions usually know better.

  3. I’ve been looking for ways to stock a new shop as well, and the best I’ve come up with is this website:


    From what I’ve read (and I’ve emailed the owners about it too) you set up an account with this place and then you have to order a minimum of 5 books per week.

    For that you get 30% discount from RRP and free postage.

    They deliver once a week. If you become a larger store with more traffic/sales I think the 30% discount may vary but I’d say that would probably be difficult – and if you could generate those sales you’d be better off with the publishers themselves.

    These guys don’t charge small order fees or postage whereas if you go with the publishers directly you’ll be paying huge small order fees.

    Hope that helps, and I’ll be sitting back here waiting for other comments because like I said, I’m in the same situation.

  4. I can help you out with a distributors in Australia if you like. Email me, so I can send some details.

    We are a specialty Military History bookseller in QLD, but most of our books come from suppliers that sell all genres, so maybe be a good option for you.


  5. Hi there,

    I would think that having the cafe at the back would be more profitable, that way you can shop first then sit down rather than have a snack in the cafe then run out of time/energy to look at the books!!
    Also a good idea for coffee mornings is to give a free 2nd refill of filter coffee, it would encourage the mums (assuming its mums with their little ones) to stay a bit longer and possibly purchase a snack!
    I really want to open a bookshop/cafe too,it would be great!
    Any tips for opening one in the South East of Kent, England?

    Thanks and good luck


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