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How can I establish an internet or mail-order business?

How can I establish an internet or mail-order business? Would I have to have my own stock of merchandise or would it come directly from the supplier? We have managed a book store for the last nine years, but our company did not want to do business in MN any longer so they closed the store. Our management team knows how to run a bargain bookstore but needs a backer for some of the startup costs.
First, you have to educate yourself on what it takes to start and maintain an Internet/mail order business and, education involves reading. Two good books to read are:

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting an Online Business" by Frank Fiore and "How to Start and Operate a Mail Order Business" by Julian L. Simon.

Also look for organizations like the National Mail Order Association to help you 'fill in the blanks' as you start your business. These organizations are there to help people enter their industries. They can give you some guidelines as to how to go about managing inventory or make recommendations to drop-shipping services if you chose not to hold inventory.

Good luck on your new business,