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The Final Chapter: How Independent Booksellers Can Adapt to a Changing Industry

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The purpose of this thesis is to examine the current state of the brick-and-mortar bookselling industry, with particular focus on independent bookstores and their strengths and weaknesses, and synthesizing recommendations for these bookstores to reinvent themselves in a rapidly changing

The purpose of this thesis is to examine the current state of the brick-and-mortar bookselling industry, with particular focus on independent bookstores and their strengths and weaknesses, and synthesizing recommendations for these bookstores to reinvent themselves in a rapidly changing market. This examination is highly relevant given recent concerns that, with the rise of e-retailers like Amazon and the closure of bookstore chain Borders, brick-and-mortar bookstores may be superseded by new digital vendors. Independent bookstores are thought to be at a particular disadvantage to these retailers, given their limited size and resources, as well as the lack of capital or consumer base that a larger chain like Barnes and Noble can draw upon to invest in emerging technology. With these more limited financial opportunities, independent bookstores must find different ways to not only keep abreast of the technology that consumers are coming to expect from modern businesses, but attract customers.
To gain insight into the state of the industry and current position of independent bookstores, I will first examine the past fifty years of the brick-and-mortar bookstore, followed by a Porter’s Five Forces analysis of the industry threats and a SWOT analysis to compare the strengths and weaknesses of independent bookstores. Next, the patrons of independent bookstores will be discussed with a focus on the two largest consumer groups of Millennials and Baby Boomers, their characteristics, and the opportunities they provide to bookstores. After this there will be an exploration of the competitors to brick-and-mortar bookstores, focusing on Amazon and then touching on some of the other rivals to bookstores’ consumer base. The next section will be an in-depth analysis of a variety of bookstores across the United States, with attention to their successful practices, goals, concerns, and failures. First, there will be a comparison of industry success and failure through case studies of Borders and Powell’s bookstores. Next, there will be a comparison of five beloved independent bookstores across the country to share their varied competitive advantages that are the secret to their success. Finally, there are primary source interviews with the employees of three major Phoenix bookstores, which provide insight into the goals, current projects, attitudes, and inner strengths of these businesses. Finally, the thesis will conclude with a section offering solutions and suggestions for independent bookstores to pursue based on the primary and secondary research discussed above. These recommendations are focused on five key areas:
• Community
• Consumers
• Store Design
• Technology
• Diversification
Ultimately, the information provided by this research and these interviews indicates that while vital business changes are being pursued by independent and chain bookstores across the United States, the independent bookstore shows no signs of disappearing in favor of online vendors or e-readers.

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Date Created
2017-05

Evaluating New Trends in Raising Capital

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In the modern digital age, new methods of raising capital for entrepreneurs are being explored and developed at a rapid rate. This is in part due to new legislation aimed at democratizing the funding process for startup-sized businesses, and also

In the modern digital age, new methods of raising capital for entrepreneurs are being explored and developed at a rapid rate. This is in part due to new legislation aimed at democratizing the funding process for startup-sized businesses, and also due to the growing mistrust in the big banks following the recent financial crisis of 2008. Today, many entrepreneurs are turning to the Internet and crowdsourcing in order to raise the funds they need to get their business ideas off the ground. This trend is more commonly known as crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is not as narrow of an industry as some may think. It goes much deeper than just the commonly known platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo. There are four different crowdfunding methods that exist today, as well as hundreds of websites known as crowdfunding platforms created in order to facilitate these methods as a third party intermediary. My thesis aims to research, break down, study, and compare the various methods of crowdfunding. In addition, I explore the modern uses of the more traditional methods of raising capital for entrepreneurs such as angel investors, venture capital, bank/Small Business Association loans, and bootstrapping. This research includes both primary and secondary research. For my primary research, I interviewed three subject matter experts on the capital markets, and conducted two case studies regarding crowdfunding campaigns. In my secondary research, I used credible published studies, blogs and articles with expert testimonials, and other trustworthy resources such as encyclopedias and professional reports. In the end, I compare and contrast the various methods of raising capital explored throughout the paper, and provide my recommendations regarding each method for entrepreneurs interested in raising funds for their next venture. We live in an exciting time, and there are a lot of interesting new developments emerging as the capital markets continue to integrate with the modern digital age. I hope this thesis will help entrepreneurs, investors, and anyone else who may have interest in the modern capital markets or fundraising develop a better understanding of new trends in raising capital today.

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Date Created
2015-12