In the digital age, used bookstores seem to be disappearing due to the popularity of downloading e-books. The majority of the online and now brick and mortar business for both used and new books is most often going to the large retailers who can offer seemingly endless aisles or web pages of books. How can your used religious bookstore possibly compete against them? You can offer something they don't, or you can partner with them.
Have Events or Get-Togethers in Store
Some of the larger retailers might have book signings by authors whose books are just hitting the market, but they don't often offer more intimate or fun events for customers. You can offer events or get-togethers that a large store or online store simply can't or won't do. You could offer an in-store book club where the members meet once a week to discuss their favorite books or offer a space for local writers to come and showcase their talents.
While many libraries offer children's programs, why not offer a form of vacation Bible school with fun games and a valuable learning experience for local kids? You could offer the same type of camp for adults too, where they can learn about the Bible and meet new friends in the process.
If your bookstore is more varied and offers several different religions' texts, then gear your events towards each different religion.
Partner with the Large Retailers
This is certainly not a new concept but perhaps it's one you haven't thought to try. You can use the large retailers might to sell your own books online. There are several large online e-commerce sites to choose from and ones specifically for selling used books. You can make your online store stand out by how you design it, the logo you use, your pricing and even if you offer sales and discounts to educators.
Advertise Locally and Online
Your store has an advantage of having both the opportunity to advertise to local customers as well as online customers. There are several ways to do this. You can place ads in your local newspaper or shoot a TV commercial for your local TV station. You could contact your most popular news program in the area and have them do a piece on you—don't forget to include newspapers too. This is a great idea when you are introducing new events or if you have a special story you want your customers to know.
You can also advertise online in a similar way. You can place ads on the popular advertisement sites, you can open your own website, either for both online selling to your customers or just to advertise your business. You can also open a channel on popular video-sharing sites and upload videos of Bible lessons, book reviews, videos of your events or whatever you think your customers should know about you. Check out websites like pioneerbook.com to see how used bookstores can market online.