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19 of the Best Books of 2021

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A bookworm is happiest when they’re surrounded by books — both old and new. Undoubtedly, 2021 was a great year for both fiction and nonfiction, with bestsellers like Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters and Second Place by Rachel Cusk. Whether you read memoirs or young-adult (YA) novels, 2021 was a fantastic year for book lovers. While we can’t squeeze in all of our favorites from 2021, we’ve rounded up a stellar sampling of must-reads. Here’s some of the year’s best books. 

“Crying in H Mart: A Memoir” by Michelle Zauner

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In her profound memoir Crying in H Mart , Michelle Zauner shares an unflinching view of growing up as a Korean American person — all while reflecting on losing her mother to terminal cancer. Author Dani Shapiro notes that the Japanese Breakfast musician “has created a gripping, sensuous portrait of an indelible mother-daughter bond that hits all the notes: love, friction, loyalty, grief.”

“The Prophets” by Robert Jones, Jr.

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In Robert Jones, Jr.’s lyrical debut novel, The Prophets , Isaiah and Samuel are two enslaved young men who find refuge in each other — and their love becomes both sustaining and heroic in the face of a vicious world. Entertainment Weekly writes that “While The Prophets’ dreamy realism recalls the work of Toni Morrison… Its penetrating focus on social dynamics stands out more singularly.” Now that’s a compliment.

“The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman

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At President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Amanda Gorman read her electrifying poem, “ The Hill We Climb .” Since then, it has been praised for its call for unity and healing. Vogue captures the feeling of reading the poem well, calling it “deeply rousing and uplifting.” 

“Beautiful World, Where Are You” by Sally Rooney

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New York Times bestselling author Sally Rooney has returned with a sharp, romantic drama, Beautiful World, Where Are You . Two separate relationships are in chaos, threatening to ruin friendships. Vogue  declares that the author has “invented a sensibility entirely of her own: Sunny and sharp.” 

“Somebody’s Daughter: A Memoir” by Ashley C. Ford

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Ashley C. Ford’s coming-of-age memoir, Somebody’s Daughter , centers on her childhood. Ford, a Black girl who grew up poor in Indiana, recounts how her family was fragmented by her father’s incarceration. With rich, unflinching writing, Ford has penned a debut for the ages. The memoir’s publisher perhaps puts the core of the book best, noting that Ford “embarks on a powerful journey to find the threads between who she is and what she was born into, and the complicated familial love that often binds them.” 

“Last Night at the Telegraph Club” by Malinda Lo

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Everyone remembers their first all-consuming love — and for Lily Hu, the teenage protagonist of Malinda Lo’s queer YA novel, that love is Kathleen Miller. Set in the 1950s in San Francisco,  Last Night at the Telegraph Club  is not just one of the year’s best, but one of Lo’s best. O: The Oprah Magazine notes that the novel is “proof of Lo’s skill at creating darkly romantic tales of love in the face of danger.”

“¡Hola Papi!” by John Paul Brammer

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In his memoir, ¡H ola Papi!: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons , advice columnist John Paul Brammer delves into his experiences growing up as a queer, biracial person. The  Los Angeles Times  writes that “Brammer’s writing is incredibly funny, kind, and gracious to his readers, and deeply vulnerable in a way that makes it feel as if he’s talking to only you” — and we couldn’t agree more. 

“Honey Girl” by Morgan Rogers

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In Morgan Rogers’ novel Honey Girl , Grace Porter is an overachiever — and certainly not the type of person to marry a stranger in Las Vegas. Or, at least, she didn’t think she was that type of person. As Grace navigates the messiness of adulthood, Rogers takes us on a journey that’s both heartfelt and unflinching, illustrating that love is all about risks — even when it comes to loving ourselves. 

“Aftershocks: A Memoir” by Nadia Owusu

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Nadia Owusu’s memoir, Aftershocks , reflects on her experience of being abandoned by her parents at a young age. Entertainment Weekly notes that “Owusu dispatches all of this heartache with blistering honesty but does so with prose light enough that it never feels too much to bear.”

“Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro

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What if an artificial intelligence (AI) assistant had feelings? In Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest novel,  Klara and the Sun , Klara is an Artificial Friend who wonders if friendship is possible. The Financial Times called the Never Let Me Go author’s latest “a deft dystopian fable about the innocence of a robot that asks big questions about existence.”

“100 Boyfriends” by Brontez Purnell

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Brontez Purnell’s romantic, intoxicating book, 100 Boyfriends , is a look at the romantic lives of queer men who are striving to find out not just where they belong, but where they can shine. Author Bryan Washington praised the collection, writing that “Each story in 100 Boyfriends is a minor eclipse: stunning in scope, technically blinding, and entirely miraculous.”

“One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston

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In Casey McQuiston’s big-hearted romance novel, One Last Stop , August meets Jane on a New York City subway — but she doesn’t realize just how fateful their chance encounter is at first. New York Magazine called the novel “an earnest reminder that home — whether that means a time, a place, or a person — is worth fighting for,” and we wouldn’t expect anything less from the  Red, White & Royal Blue author. 

“Afterparties: Stories” by Anthony Veasna So

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In Afterparties , Anthony Veasna So weaves together tenderhearted stories about the lives of several Cambodian American characters. Although the stories vary quite a bit in terms of content, author George Saunders writes that they are all “powered by So’s skill with the telling detail,” and are much like “…beams of wry, affectionate light, falling from different directions on a complicated, struggling, beloved American community.”

“Malibu Rising” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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In Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel Malibu Rising , readers meet four famous siblings as they throw their annual end-of-summer party in Malibu. However, over the course of 24 hours, family drama ensues. The Washington Post calls this read “a fast-paced, engaging novel that smoothly transports readers.”

“Let Me Tell You What I Mean” by Joan Didion

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Between 1968 and 2000, award-winning journalist and essayist Joan Didion wrote 12 pieces about a variety of well-known figures, ranging from Ernest Hemingway and Nancy Reagan to Martha Stewart. Now, these works have been gathered in the essay collection Let Me Tell You What I Mean . Bret Easton Ellis writes that Didion’s “prose remains peerless,” so, if you’re a fan of the iconic writer, this is a must-read. 

“Intimacies” by Katie Kitamura

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Intimacies is Katie Kitamura’s fourth novel, following 2017’s critically acclaimed A Separation . In it, an interpreter for the International Court at the Hague gets drawn into a political scandal after agreeing to translate for a former world leader and potential criminal. The novel is a fascinating investigation into the instability of language and how it influences identity. Dana Spiotta describes Intimacies as “a haunting, precise, and morally astute novel that reads like a psychological thriller.”

“Detransition, Baby” by Torrey Peters

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In Detransition, Baby , Torrey Peters tells a witty and nuanced story about partnership, parenthood and identity. About the novel, Ginny Hogan from the New York Times states “[Detransition, Baby upends] our traditional, gendered notions of what parenthood can look like.”

“Second Place” by Rachel Cusk

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In Rachel Cusk’s novel Second Place , a follow up to her brilliant Outline trilogy, a woman invites an artist she admires to live in her remote guesthouse for the summer. As the stay unfolds, a series of unexpected events spurs revelations about womanhood, marriage and security. About Second Place , Jenny Singer from Glamour writes “there is mayhem; surprising sweetness and brilliant observations tumble from every page.”

“Sellout: The Major-Label Feeding Frenzy That Swept Punk, Emo, and Hardcore ” by Dan Ozzi

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In Sellout: The Major-Label Feeding Frenzy That Swept Punk, Emo, and Hardcore , rock critic Dan Ozzi traces the stories of eleven separate bands that transitioned from the indie scene to achieve mainstream success in the ‘90s. Including interviews and anecdotes from bands like Green Day, Jimmy Eat World and Blink-182, this is a must-read for any music lover.


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Cheap, clean, cheerful place to nurse an instant tea and do some reading if the skies should open.

It's well stocked with a good selection of English books to dip into at your leisure.

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Open Book Café

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This student-oriented cafe, located on the first floor of College Library, has an abundance of study spaces and is one of the most popular study spots for undergraduate students. Open Book Café offers gourmet coffee, specialty espresso drinks, an assortment of appetizers, soups and chili, grab-n-go sandwiches and wraps, salads, snacks, fresh bakery items, and a wide selection of cold beverages. Stop by to fuel-up during your study session!

A Wisconsin Union Café. Pay with your student Wiscard and receive a 10% discount.

Hours and prices are subject to change. We appreciate your understanding.  If you are interested in joining our team, visit the Union Jobs Page .

Regular or Decaf

White or Dark Chocolate

1, 2 or 3 Shots

8 Mini Corn Dogs; Served with Ketchup

Cheese (vegetarian) or Pepperoni

3 per Order; Served with Sweet & Sour Sauce

Served with Ranch

4 per Order; Served with Marinara

Cheese (vegetarian) or Chicken; Served with Salsa

Plain or with Buffalo, BBQ, Bleu Cheese or Ranch

Bleu Cheese, Ranch, BBQ, Marinara

Make it a basket! Includes chips and a pickle for 1.39.

V = Vegetarian | GF = Gluten-Free | DF = Dairy-Free | NF = Nut-Free

Spring Semester

01/24/23 - 05/04/23

Payment Info

Visa | MasterCard | Discover | American Express | Wiscard | Union Gift Card

Pay with your student Wiscard and receive a 5% discount on activities and a 10% discount on food.

Manager Cindy Pearson  cpearson2@wisc.edu

If you have any questions or concerns, please email  union@union.wisc.edu .

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Book Tasting Activity Packet

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Starbooks Cafe Book Tasting Activity Event Set (now get new version new logo!)

Starbooks Cafe Book Tasting Activity Event Set (now get new version new logo!)

It's Just Adam

Also included in:  Starbooks Coffee Classroom Themes Decor Grande Bundle Starbucks

Starbooks Cafe Book Tasting Full Year Holiday Seasonal Bundle

Starbooks Cafe Book Tasting Full Year Holiday Seasonal Bundle

Book Tasting Activities

Book Tasting Activities

Laura Trapp - The Trapped Librarian

Also included in:  Library Events Bundle for Fun Library Lessons

Book Tasting (Room Transformation) by Genre

Book Tasting (Room Transformation) by Genre

Mrs Helmers Homeroom

BUNDLE: Fiction & Nonfiction Book Tasting Cafe for Primary Students

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Fiction Book Tasting Cafe for Primary Students

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Miss Cohen's Store

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Book Tasting-A Fun & Effective Way for Students to Choose Good Fit Books

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Maestra Cafe Teaches

Classic Extracts Proofreading Passages | Correct the Errors | Book Tasting

Pagecraft ELA

Also included in:  ENDLESS ELA BUNDLE | Speaking, Listening, Reading, Writing

Starbooks Cafe Book Tasting

Share Joy with a Starbooks Book Tasting


Starbooks Cafe Book Tasting Activity Event Set December Christmas Winter Holiday

Also included in:  Starbooks Cafe Book Tasting Full Year Holiday Seasonal Bundle

Book Tasting Cafe - reading lesson activities

Book Tasting Cafe - reading lesson activities

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"Tim Bookends" Book Tasting Activity Event Kit

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Beacon Hill Books & Cafe is Boston’s newest hangout around the corner, where a lovingly curated selection of reads meets a warm atmosphere, pop-ups and literary events, and a full-range menu of locally sourced fare. This shop is our love letter to Boston.

A spot to gather, discover, learn, and most of all, have fun . A spot for afternoon tea with friends, or where a solo adventurer can relax with a book and a bite. It takes a village to open a bookstore, and a community to make it thrive.


Staff picks

The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World--And Globalization Began by Valerie Hansen

Delightful Non-Book Things

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Between reads?

Check out our calendar of happenings, get-togethers, and goings-on at the store.


A Day in Beacon Hill

9AM Grab a coffee and a light bite at Beacon Hill Books & Cafe

10AM Stroll through Beacon Hill’s charming streets and admire the homes of a few writers you may have heard of

88 Mount Vernon Street | Robert Frost

9 Willow Street | Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes

3 Smith Court | William Cooper Nell

4 Pinckney Street | Henry David Thoreau

66 Phillips Street | William & Ellen Craft

20 Pinckney Street | Louisa May Alcott

54 Pinckney Street | Nathaniel Hawthorne 

11AM Tour the stacks at the iconic Boston Athenaeum (and don’t forget to make a reservation)

Noon Refuel at Beacon Hill Books & Cafe with The Franklin sandwich or mushroom bisque and popovers

2PM Take in some history at th e Museum of African American History

4PM Catch the famous (and adorable) “Make Way for Ducklings” statues based on Robert McCloskey’s classic children’s book


Beacon Hill Books & Cafe 71 Charles St Boston, MA 02114

Monday:  Closed

Tuesday through Thursday: 9am to 5pm

Friday and Saturday: 9am to 8pm

Sunday: 12pm to 5pm

Please check our Instagram for any special events or changes in store hours.

Cafe reservations via OpenTable below:

FOLLOW @beaconhillbooksandcafe

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Welcome to Cookbook bar & Café

Cookbook Bar & Café is a counter-service eatery in the Austin Public Library, celebrating the culinary-themed publications that are readily available for guests to browse in the library.

Cookbook offers a variety of styles and incorporates organic and farm-to-table components, whenever possible. Specials will tie directly into cookbook publications of local chefs or touring authors, and Cookbook will host cooking demos in the library. 

Beverages include local craft beer, regional wines, and a stylish hot-beverage service with top-of-the-line espresso and tea offerings.


Cookbook is the new home for the Virginia B. Wood Memorial Cookbook Collection, and access to 500 cookbooks and dozens of Texas-centric books, a selection of Diana Kennedy’s books, and at least three editions of The Joy of Cooking.

Cookbook Bar & Café recipes are inspired from the pages of cookbooks created by chefs across the country. Seasonal menus are curated by Chef Drew Curren, are breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks are served daily.

Enjoy a curated menu of grab-and-go pastries and sandwiches. We incorporate farm-to-table ingredients whenever possible and the menu changes seasonally.

Cookbook Café & Bars rooftop coffee cart features drip coffee, pastries and more. Come grab and good book, fresh coffee, and enjoy the view of Austin.

Stay tuned for dates on the reopening of our rooftop coffee cart!

How to Start a Coffee Shop

How To Start a Coffee Shop Bookstore

How to open a coffee shop and bookstore

start a coffee shop bookstore

Open a Coffee Shop Bookstore Business

how to open a coffee shop bookstore

Many entrepreneurs are interested in starting a coffee shop and opening up a bookstore because of the natural pairing . 

In opening a coffee shop bookstore, you will be marrying two different businesses that are quite independent and require other skills to manage and maintain.

A coffee shop and bookstore can have a positive symbiotic relationship that leads to greater profits for the owner(s), which is why we believe starting such a cafe bookstore business is a viable option.  

While it is possible to create a business out of each of these ventures separately, the opportunity for even greater success by combining both can be appealing. They can create multiple revenue streams that can be closely related and helpful to the other.

We will outline a few ways to start a coffee shop bookstore business in today's post. 

start a coffee shop bookstore

Scenario 1:  

Start a Coffee Shop Within an Existing Bookstore

In this scenario, you have an existing bookstore owner who would like to offer your customers espresso-based coffee drinks. Another revenue stream would be helpful in an era where bookstores are struggling with online competitors.

If you have the physical space to install a coffee bar area – and your existing bookstore business is properly zoned – then starting your café or coffee bar can be manageable with the right steps are taken .

Since your existing business plan will be changing, a thoughtful updating of your current bookstore business plan should be done. Looking at your already existing space and budget, you will have to decide on your coffee shop menu and the necessary coffee equipment you'll need. Additionally, you will want to research local permits – from your health and buildings departments.  And of course, you will want to hire and train baristas.

Additionally, you may need to renegotiate your current lease with your property manager, among other essential items.

If you already own a bookstore, you will need to:

In addition to the list above, you may want to consider your competition in your general vicinity. Are there any current coffee shops or drive-thru coffee stands that could pose stiff competition? Are there any coffee shop substitutes? Substitutes are those businesses that can provide coffee and other products you might be selling in the general vicinity. This may be a fast-food chain, a pancake house, or a bistro.

Take a look at the local competitive environment. If you decide that your business will still benefit from opening a coffee shop within your business, you should/may proceed with your coffee shop bookstore planning.

how to open a coffee shop bookstore, how to start a coffee shop bookstore

Scenario 2:

Start a bookstore with an existing coffee shop.

Like the first scenario, if you were a bookstore owner already are up and running, starting your café/bookstore can be much easier.

This is also true if you already have an established coffee shop business. 

Expanding your space to include books may be an exciting addition to your business!  M anaging a bookstore might require different expertise, such as book inventory management and ordering. It may also require you to reexamine hiring, design and layout, and other essentials such as a new POS system . 

When you look at both of these, there doesn’t appear to be much of a difference. Well, it might be easier starting or adding a bookstore in addition to your café because of the permit and health department requirements.

To be sure, spacing always seems to be a big issue for both scenarios, so making sure that you have enough space and enough back area space for storage, sinks, a mop sink, etc., will be important as well.

In the coffee shop bookstores that we've interviewed, we have found that the bookstore and coffee shop often compartmentalize their staff and management, especially if they are a bustling business. 

Scenario 3:

Start your coffee shop bookstore from scratch.

If you are starting a coffee shop from scratch , you may have an easier time than the other two scenarios because you will be able to dictate your location and physical space and fulfill your coffee shop concept from a clean slate.

If you owned an established space already, it might be hard to build out your cafe area or your bookstore area. Having a well-thought-out coffee shop bookstore business plan written will help you think things through.

Here are the steps you might want to take:

Each of these elements is very important to your coffee shop bookstore business. They each require deep thought and reflection. Developing your concept, writing your coffee shop business plan bookstore, your equipment, and your property lease all require some well-thought-through decision making. 

Coffee Shop Bookstore Options Summary:

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Start a Coffee Shop Bookstore Steps

Depending on which option you choose above, you will have to take specific steps to open your coffee shop bookstore. These steps will vary depending on your existing business or whether you are starting a coffee shop from scratch.

However, each of the mentioned coffee shop bookstore options does have similar steps, which we would like to outline below.

Write a Coffee Shop Bookstore Business Plan

Whether you are just starting or have an established business, it's best if you start by writing a business plan before moving forward.

A business plan will help ensure that you've taken the time to think about each step specific to your coffee shop bookstore. While it takes work and thoughtful planning, the process of writing out your business plan is invaluable.

There are additional benefits of writing a business plan. Among them is saving money, time, and ultimately, determining whether your coffee shop bookstore idea makes sense.

For more information on writing your coffee shop business plan, read How to Start Your Coffee Shop Business Plan .

Find the Best Location

A coffee shop bookstore can be a fantastic asset to your community – if it's located in the right place. Like most retail businesses, your location decision is often the cornerstone to your success.

While you want to ensure that your target market is served, other practical considerations are also vital. These factors may include having enough parking spaces or be easily accessible for pedestrians, lighting, safety issues, among others.

Venn Diagram, Elements to Choose a Drive-Thru a location

Know Your Target Customer

Your coffee shop bookstore location and your target market are always linked. Spend time understanding who your coffee shop bookstore will be serving – and general coffee shop locations will rise to the surface.

If you need help determining your target market, consider creating a sample avatar description for your typical customer.

Your Coffee Shop Bookstore Avatar description:

Jane is a 27-year old graduate student who lives and works near City University. She will stop into Coffee & Books almost daily for her favorite latte and choose from an assortment of muffins. She loves to pick up the latest books and magazines that we feature on science before waiting for her next class.

Helping you understand your customer will help sort out your business plans, determine your location, and focus your attention on your menu items.

Coffee Shop Menu Items

Determining your menu will play a significant role in your budget, equipment costs, and even hiring decisions.

Figuring what's on your coffee shop menu board will also help you figure out just how much space you'll need. Your menu is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors and attract the clientele you are targeting.

Your menu development mixes in many variables:

If possible, you'll want to determine your menu and type of service, hours of operation before you spend money on coffee equipment or you remodel.

Menu for your drive-thru coffee stand

Pro Tip: It's easy to want to be all things to all people. If you are unsure of how to proceed, focus instead on simplicity. Keep your menu simple, doable, and practical.

Coffee Shop Bookstore Competition

Unfortunately, bookstores aren't as plentiful as they used to be. But that doesn't mean that you won't have any competition.

While online booksellers now dominate the retail book market, you can still carve out a profitable space in the brick-and-mortar realm.  As you determine where you plan on opening your coffee shop bookstore, consider the existing competition in the area. You may also keep in mind the role those substitute businesses can have on your sales.

Whether they are an existing bookstore, stationery shops, fast food joints, corporate coffee shops, or independent cafes, you'll want to do a full assessment of how your coffee shop bookstore will match up against established businesses in your area.

Lease Terms (may need to renegotiate)

The nature of your cafe bookstore business will often require the approval of the owner or property manager. If you have a small bookstore but would like to add a coffee bar, this may need your property manager's approval. Look into your current lease terms and discuss this with the property's owner.

You may need to do light remodeling, add a small kitchen, or install a seating area to make your vision work. Additional changes to the plumbing, electricity, or ventilation systems should be pre-approved in writing before spending the time and money on the project.

If your property owner or manager is reluctant to change the lease terms or allow you to remodel, you may consider finding a new coffee shop bookstore location.

Research Your Permits

Take a moment to research the necessary local county agencies involved in your coffee shop bookstore's permitting. For example, if you have an existing coffee shop, you'll most likely already know the staff at your local health department.

If you have a bookstore, you will need to contact the local health department and buildings department. Additionally, you may need to submit a revised floor plan and get approval from the fire marshal to determine occupancy.

In your planning phase, you will want to make the calls, collect the requirements, and determine how they will come together to satisfy each agency.

Buy Your Coffee Equipment and Vendors

Choosing the right coffee equipment will be an essential part of your planning and constitute a big part of your expenses.

Once you have a good understanding of your target market, your menu, and your space, you should start shopping around for your coffee shop equipment. Several coffee equipment sellers in the United States and Europe can ship anywhere in the world.

Coffee equipment such as an espresso machine, coffee brewers, ice-makers, coffee grinders, blenders, toasters may be what you'll need. Additionally, you will want sinks, storage racks, refrigerators, and small wares.

Along with your equipment comes choosing your food vendors, paper suppliers, and your wholesale coffee roasters. I recommend that you develop partners with local vendors. Having the freshest items with local businesses is ideal for coffee shop businesses.

Getting Your Book Inventory

As a bookstore café, you'll need to have an inventory of books. If you are an existing bookseller, you'll have your established contacts and vendors. If you are starting from scratch or a coffee shop owner, you will need to look at where you will get your books.

Resources like the Nonfiction Authors Association has resources that will point to wholesale distribution of books.  You can also look at organizations like the Independent Book Publishers Association. Other resources include BookDepot.com.

If you sell new books, you may also consider selling used books too. While accepting used books is an entirely whole other skill, the payoff may be worth it.

Many used bookstores often get books dropped off by people who no longer want them. Some offer store credit or cash for a fraction of the cost. You will have to ultimately decide what the best model for you to get your inventory would be

Market Your Coffee Shop Bookstore Like Crazy

As your established business or your new coffee shop bookstore gets ready to open the doors, you will want to invest in marketing your coffee shop bookstore like crazy.

Marketing like crazy doesn't have to be expensive. But it should be well-thought-through.

Take care of the basics like developing your logo and brand, set up your coffee shop website, open your social media accounts, and reach out to bloggers and local media. You may also need a total make-over and rebranding, so you will want to figure that into your overall budget.

Your Coffee Shop Bookstore Grand Opening

Having a “grand opening” weekend or month will drive community awareness, buzz, and excitement.

Your grand opening should be the start of your year-long master marketing plan to introduce (or reintroduce) yourself to your community and your customers. Hook them in with loyalty cards and stay laser-focused on building relationships.

Invite local authors to discuss their books. Host music events if possible. Partner with schools, colleges, or senior organizations to boost your traffic as you celebrate your opening.

For more information, read How to Prepare for Your Coffee Shop Grand Opening .

Other Coffee Shop Business Articles You May Be Interested In:

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Successful Coffee Shop Bookstore Concepts

Over the years, we have seen various concepts, whether the storm of today's volatile market for books. I can't emphasize enough the importance of doing the necessary market research, going through the process of writing your business plan, and picking out the perfect location for your specific concept.

College Bookstore Café

While colleges and universities have their own bookstores, there are often one or two independent booksellers that thrive where students and academics live. Could this be your coffee shop bookstore concept?

If you live near colleges, universities, or other schools – having a bookstore café could be a winning option. You may work with various college departments to supply books or supplemental learning materials to students. Or you can add a community space for additional off-campus lectures, music events, and fundraisers.

Adding local school merchandise and offering regular discounts to your neighboring schools could also be a win-win situation. A built-in local fan base wanting school merch could also help drive sales.

Newspaper Coffee Shop Bookstore

Newspaper stands are often relics of the past. But there is still a need for such coffee shop bookstores. And in specific communities, such a bookstore café concept could be a winner.  Your location, target market, and product offerings will play a significant role in exploring this path. Therefore, your market research to determine viability will need to be thorough.

Niche Bookstore Café

Niche bookstores that focus on a particular issue like politics, science, tech, or spirituality may be the most viable option in today's market place for bookstores. While trying to appeal to everyone may seem like a good strategy, it can often lead to a dilution in loyalty, branding, marketing, and sales.

However, the more specific the niche, the more success you might have – as long as the market base is big enough.

If you are the niche bookstore café for all-things science or politics in your area, then you set yourself apart from the competition.

How to open a coffee shop business

Additional Questions:

Is a coffee shop bookstore profitable.

Coffee shops can be profitable, and existing bookstores can be advantageous as well. But there it's no secret: Bookstores everywhere are struggling to stay in business. Only those willing to adapt and cater to a changing market can be sustainable.

Clearly understanding your customer, your competitive advantage, the ability to market and move your inventory will play a critical role in your profitability.

However, coffee shops can be very profitable. Adding a small selection of books or magazines may be appealing and drive additional sales and increase profitability.

The idea with a coffee shop bookstore is to leverage the possibilities and sales to serve your market and generate more money from a new revenue stream.

What are other coffee shop concepts good for starting a business?

Starting a coffee shop bookstore is one of many coffee shop business concepts that may work in your city or area.

Once you determine what area you want to start a coffee shop, take some time to figure what your potential customers want. What would coffee shop concepts resonate with them?

For more information, please read our article, 50 Great Coffee Shop Concepts .

What are the best books to start a coffee shop?

Starting a coffee shop is a comprehensive endeavor. Rarely, does one book cover everything you need to know to run a successful coffee shop. With that said, we've written the most comprehensive coffee shop business book, Getting Your Flow, How to Successfully Launch Your Coffee Shop. Additionally, we have also written supplementary coffee shop business books that are important to review before you open a coffee shop.

For more information, please read, The Best Coffee Shop Books to Start a Coffee Shop.

How to Start a Coffee Shop Bookstore

We've covered much ground here. Starting a coffee shop bookstore can be an exciting and profitable addition to your local community.

Let me summarize a lot of the key points to consider when starting a coffee shop bookstore below:

start a coffee shop bookstore

Your Coffee Shop Bookstore:

Planning, Planning, & More Planning

Your coffee shop bookstore success all comes down to your research and planning.

We encourage you to plan, research, seek advice, write your coffee shop business plan , and get the expertise of people who are already doing what you would like to do.

We've created a coffee shop startup kit that allows you to hear directly from coffee shop owners and entrepreneurs who have already succeed or failed .

We believe there is a lot to learn from speaking from those who have already done what you want to do. Our common-sense approach to learning how to start your coffee business can help you develop your retail coffee expertise.

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Good Brotha’s Book Cafe in Harrisburg relocating to build a ‘better brand’

Good Brotha's Book Cafe

Stefan Hawkins, owner of Good Brotha's Book Cafe at 1419 N. Third St. in Harrisburg, is relocating his cafe to the McCormick Riverfront Library in Harrisburg. He opened Good Brotha's in 2021. File photo by Dan Gleiter | [email protected]

A Harrisburg cafe is percolating up a move aimed at helping a Dauphin County library increase its visibility.

Good Brotha’s Book Cafe will relocate this fall from 1419 N. Third St. to the McCormick Riverfront Library as part of the library’s $3.5 million renovation project. Owner Stefan Hawkins said he is closing Good Brotha’s midtown shop on Sept. 10.

While Hawkins said closing is bittersweet, he’s looking forward to the future: “We’re not going out of business. This is just a pivoting process to build a better brand.”

The addition of Good Brotha’s marks the first time a cafe will operate inside one of Dauphin County’s library’s eight locations. Good Brotha’s will serve its line of Fifth Acres Coffee Co. , selling a variety of roasts and flavors along with pastries and bagels. The cafe also will sell books, mostly with an emphasis on Black literature.

During a Friday press conference, Karen Cullings, executive director of Dauphin County libraries, said the library wanted a local coffee provider opposed to a national brand like Starbucks, which are found everywhere.

“There’s nothing like enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee, latte or tea,” she said.

The 107-year-old McCormick library’s renovations include expanding into the 5,458-square-foot Haldeman Haly residence, named for Sara Haldeman Haly, whose donation of land and money in 1896 led to creation of the library.

McCormick Riverfront Library expansion project construction

The project is expected to be completed by mid-October. The library also announced on Friday the addition of a donor appreciation wall in the library’s welcome center. The wall will recognize those who have made donations toward the library’s renovation project.

The expanded library will feature a 3,400 square-foot family area with learning support on a number of topics including math and science, a public meeting space and public computer resources. Additionally, state-of-the-art “zSpace” computers will allow visitors of all ages to use augmented reality to explore nature and conduct science experiments, among other activities.

The new space will also include a collection of historical materials gathered by the Commonwealth Monument Project, in their attempts to document the stories of 100 men and women who made significant contributions to Harrisburg’s development and community.

Hawkins said he hopes to collaborate with the library on programming aimed at attracting more readers to the facility and he plans to continue his book of the month promotions. Good Brotha’s is the first black-owned coffee and book shop in Harrisburg.

The business was inspired by Good Brotha’s Book Club started by Hawkins and his friends, mostly for young African American men in the community. Hawkins said another Good Brotha’s proposed at the Steel Works complex, a project located on six blocks from 102 to 230 N. Front St. across the street from Steelton’s borough hall, is still under consideration.

For now, he’s focused on opening at the library, which will operate six days a week during regular library hours.

So far, the library system has raised nearly 96% of its $3.5 million goal to fund the expansion. For more information on fundraising efforts, visit the Dauphin County Library System’s fundraising website .

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