Cooperatives are an association of like-minded people united to meet a common cultural, economic or social requirement through a jointly owned, independent and democratically controlled enterprise. They are mainly used to form businesses and organizations and are considered to be more economically resilient and stable when compared to other types of ventures. The members of the association are joint owners of the venture and also form a part of its decision-making process. Cooperatives can be formed for both profit and non-profit ventures.
What makes the business model unique? The main idea is that a cooperatives store seeks to maximize benefits to all stakeholders involved and not just the investors. This includes the customers, members, community, environment, and much more. Additionally, cooperatives are more resilient to economic conditions and turmoil.
Cooperative bookstores are stores that run on similar business models jointly owned by all its members.
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Benefits Of A Cooperatives Bookstore?
There are many advantages and benefits when it comes to cooperatives such as:
- Easy to form and start – As the value of shares for a cooperatives bookstore is quite low, it attracts a large number of members. Therefore, it becomes easy to raise capital and start the bookstore.
- Offers better goods and services – Cooperatives are controlled and run in a democratic manner. All members can vote on major decisions. As they are mainly controlled by members, they generally offer better products and services to the customers and are not just for creating profits.
- Limited Liability – They are more resilient to economic changes. Due to the high number of joint-owners, the liability per person is quite low.
- Eliminates middlemen – Cooperatives bookstores source their bibliography through its own members or directly from the manufacturers. It plays a huge role in cutting out the middleman and providing better quality services.
- Not just a profit venture – Cooperatives are designed to maximize value for everyone involved.
- Promotes local authors and works – Members of cooperative bookstores who are aspiring writers or authors can have their own works listed in the bibliography. It is a cheaper alternative to sourcing books while promoting local authors at the same time.
Raising Capital For Cooperatives
Like any other business, raising capital for the cooperative’s bookstore is the main challenge. Seed capital can be raised using a number of approaches including:
- Member Funding – One of the major sources of funding for cooperatives is through its members. As share prices are quite low, it attracts a large number of members who later become joint owners of the bookstore. They also enjoy dividends from profits and revenue. This is also known as equity funding. They can also be funded through crowdsourcing platforms on the internet to get better results.
- Outsider funding – Cooperatives can also be financed from outside sources including banking institutions, grants, donations, among others. There are a number of short term and long term loans that are good options when it comes to starting a cooperative bookstore.
- Pre-selling – Businesses sell gift coupons to customers that can be later redeemed in the store. As an incentive to the buyer, the coupons are sold at prices lesser than its face value. This is a great way to finance a cooperative without the risk of accumulating interests or fees on debt.
- From business surpluses – Instead of paying back cooperatives business revenue back to the members, the surplus can be retained as a source of funding in the long run.
With the habit of paperback book reading dying out in most places due to digital books, cooperatives bookstores are a low-risk option that is resilient to economic changes and demand-supply gaps.