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. Read on to learn more about book shop insurance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Purchasing business insurance for your book store can be a complex ordeal. Allow an independent agent in the Trusted Choice® 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.