Bookbinding may not appear to be a profitable business in the age of smartphones and e-Books. Even though digital copies are increasingly replacing hard copies, some people will always prefer turning pages in a book to scrolling on a phone or tablet.
Giving books as a gift on numerous occasions is now widely practiced. Because of this, bookbinders still have a chance to succeed in their line of work. This article will discuss some essential tips if you are looking forward to starting a successful bookbinding business.
1. Planning your Business
If you are starting bookbinding as a hobby, you don’t need much of a strategy to plan out your outcome for the long run. But if you are an entrepreneur looking to succeed with this business, you must abide by a few guidelines when your business expands.
Defining your Brand
Your business’s “brand” is what it stands for and how your customers view it. If your company has a great brand, it will stand out from the crowd. Go with various new ideas and proposals to benefit you and your brand.
You might think of providing many additional services that make you unique among the crowds, such as book restoration or repair.
Optimizing your Costs
Starting a business involves several expenses, including registration, rent, personnel pay, supply prices, and maintenance. However, compared to other businesses, a bookbinding firm requires substantially less start-up money because you can get started in your basement as long as you have the necessary binding equipment.
You would initially start your business alone or with a partner. But as your company progresses with a steady client base, you will require a team to work with. All of these expenses will directly reflect on your profit margins. So, a proper strategy is necessary for optimizing your costs.
Tracking your Finances
Monitoring your costs and sources of income is essential to understanding your company’s financial performance.
Maintaining precise and thorough records also simplifies submitting your yearly taxes once you have registered your business.
2. Researching Target Market
You need to research the bookbinding market first if you want a smooth start. Many people won’t be willing to tell the truth if you come right out and say you want to establish the same business.
You might consider studying by going to various enterprises and discovering how the market is doing. Take advice from entrepreneurs who have set up a similar business in a location that is not competitive with you.
Make sure you are aware of your intended clients. For some, the ideal customer would be a publisher who would hire you for each of their next projects. Beyond this, you want someone who appreciates your existing ideas and designs.
3. Knowing your Resources
You will need to have a clear concept and use all the binding components, resources, and techniques needed for the bookbinding business. There is no one way to bind a book, but the following is a basic list of the supplies that might be useful:
- Paper Stock: Arts paper, copier paper, Japanese washi paper, construction paper, book board, etc.
- Bookbinding Thread: Linen, nylon, polyester, silk, and cotton thread
- Needles: These come in various thicknesses and sizes like #11, #13, #15, #18, and #20 size. For standard-sized bindings using text weight materials, the size #18 needles are used. For heavier bindings and thicker thread, size #15 needles are used.
- Tapes and Adhesives: Gaffer tape, spine repair tape, Tyvek tape, buckram book cloth, PVA glue, water-based emulsions, double-sided adhesive, and more.
- Pencil, ruler, paper presses, heavyweights, knife, etc.
Depending on various factors like the customer’s choice, book quality, quantity, or the cost of the resources needed, there are many binding methods practiced over the years. In terms of finish, each method also offers a variety of choices.
Some of the popular binding methods are Japanese side stitch, saddle stitch, long stitch, coiling, and many more.
4. Knowing your Competitors
If you plan to open up a bookbinding business in your local area or neighborhood, look out for competitors of a similar company. Observe their offerings and services to their customers.
Consider strategies to improve and differentiate your company. Develop new innovative ideas with your designs to gain the upper hand over your competitors.
If you discover too much competition, try considering another location or neighborhood nearby or look for another business idea that you can focus on.
5. Refining your Skills
Skills are necessary for running any successful business. You’ll need a certain level of accuracy and precision to ensure that bindings are of consistent quality. Because for customers, this is the only thing that matters most in this business.
Bookbinding is a major aspect of the book arts, just like printing is! You need to master whatever skills it takes to be a unique bookbinder. There are several resources you can learn bookbinding from. One of them is free online tutorials. These are necessary as a beginner, as you will want to explore the various concepts behind them.
From the simple pamphlet stitch to more flamboyant designs like secret Belgian bookbinding, there are many distinct types of bookbinding. Stab binding is another ancient Japanese bookbinding technique.
You can also learn to bind books from your local library, where old and worn-out books are repaired and bound over time.
6. Promoting your Business
Before going out on their own, bookbinders in the past would frequently associate with an expert. People nowadays start by selling their goods on art websites like Shopify, Amazon, and Etsy.
You may also want to advertise on social media because your product is visually appealing. Open your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram profiles to display your most recent creations.
You can make short DIY videos of bookbinding and share the essential tips and knowledge on your Youtube channel. This can boost your online community and help you market your business to an extent.
The bookbinding business may have declined over the years due to the online availability of digital copies and resources. But true book lovers never go to bed by themselves.
There is hope and still enough scope to start a successful bookbinding business if you follow the trend among the customers, as they constantly seek fresh and unique services to draw their attention.