Book Store

(And how you can easily find the right coverage today)


With the advent of electronic book readers, some people think that book stores are a dying industry. While it is true that more than 1,000 retail book sellers shuttered their doors between 2000 and 2007, there are still more than 20,000 book stores open and flourishing in the United States. It seems that not even new technology can eradicate people’s love of physical, bound books.

If you are the proud owner of a book store, you will want to be sure to protect your investment properly against all potential exposures. This is why, ideally, your commercial insurance policy should be tailored to meet the specific coverage needs of book sellers. 

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Read on to learn more about book shop insurance.

Book Store Industry Facts as Reported by IBISWorld

  • There are currently nearly 22,000 book stores in the United States.
  • These stores employ nearly 37,000 people.
  • This industry is responsible for approximately $16 billion in revenue each year.

What Could Go Wrong at a Book Store?

As far as retail establishments go, book stores generally do not carry any major risks that would make them undesirable to insurance companies. They do, however, have a few exposures that are unique to their particular industry.

For example, people tend to congregate and linger in book stores. This increases your injury liability risk as a book store owner. In the event of a fire, even if it is quickly contained, you may face major inventory losses due to smoke and water exposure. 

Finally, if your book shop hosts and heavily promotes an author who ends up being sued for libel or copyright infringement, your store may be named in the liability lawsuit.

What Do Book Sellers Need To Consider When Buying Contents Coverage?

Your inventory is largely made of paper and is therefore vulnerable to fire, water and smoke damage. Because one major catastrophe, such as a fire or a collapsed roof, has the potential to wipe out large amounts of your inventory, it is important that you carry sufficient property coverage.

It should be noted that under the terms of most commercial insurance policies, if you face a major loss of this nature, it is your responsibility to make a full inventory of all damaged and undamaged property. 

This can be quite time-consuming as most book stores contain thousands of books, magazines and newspapers, and each will need to be checked and inventoried individually.

What Are Some Liability Concerns Book Store Owners Face?

As mentioned before, book shop owners must be aware of the potential for injuries to occur in their retail space and should therefore strive to make their stores as safe as possible for their customers. 

If your book store hosts children’s events such as story-hours, the potential for injuries increases. General liability insurance provides you with coverage in the event that someone is injured while in your store.

If your establishment is like most modern book stores, it may include a café or coffee bar. This opens you up to more liability risks as customers may suffer from foodborne illnesses or hot coffee burns. 

Your commercial general liability insurance would provide coverage in this instance, but it is important that you take the proper steps to ensure safety for your customers.

Finally, because you are a dealer of written works, you face the potential to be named in a lawsuit against an author who is being sued for libel or for stealing another person’s work. This is particularly possible if you have endorsed this author through book signings and promotions and have profited heavily from his or her work. 

While the risk for such a lawsuit is small, it is a real one. Fortunately, in most cases your general liability insurance coverage should be sufficient to provide you with the coverage you need.

Should Book Sellers Purchase Coverage Against Retail Theft?

Shoplifting is a problem faced by nearly all retail business establishments. While there is coverage available to protect you against this sort of crime, for a business such as a book shop, insurance is not necessarily the best option.

In most cases, it would be difficult for a shoplifter to successfully leave your store with enough books to total a significant amount of money. The potential losses are therefore unlikely to warrant filing an insurance claim. 

The better option for you as a book store owner may be to invest in loss control and handle retail theft in-house. An independent insurance agent can help you determine whether retail theft insurance is right for you.


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What Other Book Shop Insurance Coverage Do You Need?

In addition to the building, inventory, property and general liability coverage found in most retail store insurance packages, other coverage you may need or want to consider includes

  • Flood insurance: Books are highly susceptible to water damage. However, commercial insurance policies rarely cover water damage caused by floods. For this, you will need to purchase a commercial flood insurance policy through the NFIP.
  • Business Income Insurance: If a disaster such as a fire forces your business to close its doors temporarily, this coverage can provide a continuation of income until you can resume normal business operations.
  • Employment Practices Liability Insurance: This can protect your business if an employee sues for discrimination or harassment.
  • Employee Dishonesty Insurance: This can protect your business from loss in the event that one of your employees steals from you.
  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance: This covers employee injuries on the job.
  • Health and Life Insurance: If you include these coverages as part of your employees’ benefits packages, you will need to shop around for policies.
  • Cyber Liability Insurance: This new insurance type provides liability coverage in the event that hackers break into your computer system and steal sensitive customer information

Find Specialty Commercial Insurance for Your Book Store 

Purchasing business insurance for your book store can be a complex ordeal. Allow an independent agent in our network to help you navigate through your many options. 

These agents can work with a number of different insurance companies to help you build a policy that is right for your business. Find an agent near you today to learn more and to start comparing book shop insurance quotes.

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