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Small But Special

Is it possible for a new company to compete in the online books market?

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This story appears in the September 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Question: I want to sell books on-line to a niche market. I know books are the No. 2 item bought online. I'm concerned, however, about suppliers and money. Can I get started with only a few thousand dollars for stock? I don't think I can get a line of credit from the suppliers. Do you think this is a feasible idea? And what business structure do you recommend?

Nancy Halsey

Via e-mail

Answer: For a small business to compete among giants like Amazon.com, we believe you must find a niche that meets three criteria: 1) people identify so strongly with your niche that they'll come searching for you; 2) you can serve customers interested in this niche better than the larger books sites; 3) the niche is large enough to provide your site with enough customers from the worldwide market.

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