Book Store Insurance

Every bookstore needs protection against losses caused by break-ins, fires, water damage, and more.

Christine Lacagnina Written by Christine Lacagnina
Christine Lacagnina
Written by Christine Lacagnina

Christine Lacagnina has written thousands of insurance-based articles for by authoring consumable, understandable content.

Reviewer: Jeffrey Green Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
Reviewer: Jeffrey Green
Reviewed by Jeffrey Green

Jeff Green has held a variety of sales and management roles at life insurance companies, Wall street firms, and distribution organizations over his 40-year career.  He was previously Finra 7,24,66 registered and held life insurance licenses in multiple states. He is a graduate of Stony Brook University.

Books on shelves in a bookstore. Find bookstore insurance.

Bookstores remain a thriving industry in the US, despite the popularity of devices like the Kindle. Since books can be a valuable yet vulnerable type of inventory, bookstores must take appropriate precautions by implementing the right kind of business insurance from the very beginning. Books are highly flammable, and can also be damaged by water or mishandling, or stolen altogether. Damaged or stolen books could mean huge losses for your business without the proper coverage.

Fortunately, an independent insurance agent can help you get equipped with the right bookstore insurance. They'll get you matched to a policy before it's too late. But up first, here's a breakdown of bookstore insurance.

Bookstore Industry Stats

Before you start hunting for coverage, take some time to get to know your industry as a whole. Here are just a handful of bookstore industry stats for the US. 

  • This year, there are 14,161 bookstores currently operating in the US.
  • The number of bookstores in the US has declined about 2.5% annually over the past five years.
  • New York has the highest number of bookstores of any other state, with 1,879 total.
  • A reported 81,070 people are employed by bookstores this year.
  • At the beginning of this year, bookstores in the US generated $918 million in revenue.

Every individual bookstore needs protection against common threats ranging from fire damage to vandalism. Without the right coverage, your business could potentially suffer a large financial loss on top of lost or damaged inventory.

Common Risks Faced by Bookstores

As far as retail establishments go, bookstores generally don't come with any major risks that would make them undesirable to insurance companies. They do, however, have a few exposures unique to the industry. For example, people tend to congregate and linger in bookstores for much longer than they would in other types of retail stores. This increases your business's customer injury liability risk. Also, in the event of a fire, your bookstore could face major inventory losses due to smoke and water damage, even if it's quickly contained. 

Further, if your bookshop hosts and heavily promotes an author who gets sued for libel or copyright infringement, your store could be named in the lawsuit. It's important for bookstore owners to identify all these major threats ahead of time to get equipped with all the right coverage. Book store insurance can prevent losses related to replacing damaged inventory, lawsuits, and much more.

Bookstores Need Commercial Property Coverage

Your inventory is largely made of paper and is therefore vulnerable to fire, water, and smoke damage. Because just one major incident like a fire or collapsed roof has the potential to wipe out large sections of your inventory, your bookstore must carry enough commercial property insurance. Be sure to keep a regularly updated full inventory of everything sold in your bookstore, from books to toys and beyond. That'll help you get the proper amount of reimbursement from your insurance company in a timely manner after a disaster. Property insurance also protects your physical building against many types of disasters, including fire damage and lightning as well.

You'll also likely want to consider getting commercial flood insurance to further protect your bookstore. A book store insurance policy without separate flood coverage won't provide reimbursement for many incidents of natural water damage, such as that caused by heavy rainfall, hurricanes, tsunamis, etc. Your business may even need inland marine coverage to protect inventory while it's in transit if it makes deliveries. An independent insurance agent can help your bookstore get equipped with all the property coverage it needs.

Bookstores Need Business Liability Coverage

Bookshop owners must be aware of the increased potential for injuries to occur in their retail space. If your bookstore hosts children’s events, the potential for injuries increases even further. Having commercial general liability insurance provides you with coverage for lawsuit costs if a customer or guest gets injured or suffers from personal property damage while on your store's premises.

Your bookstore may also include a café or coffee bar, which opens your business to more liability risks as customers may suffer from foodborne illnesses or burns from hot food or beverages. General liability insurance can help protect your business from lawsuits related to these incidents as well.

Finally, because you deal in written works, your business could possibly be named in a lawsuit against an author who gets sued for libel or for stealing another writer's work. This risk increases if your business has endorsed this author through book signings or promotions and has profited from their work. Fortunately, in most cases, your general liability insurance coverage should be sufficient to provide you with the coverage you need. Talk to your independent insurance agent about the need for enough liability coverage in your book store insurance policy.


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Additional Coverages for Bookstore Owners to Consider

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

  • Business income insurance: If a covered disaster such as a fire forces your business to close its doors temporarily, this coverage can provide a continuation of income and employee wages until you can resume normal business operations.
  • Employment practices liability insurance: This can protect your business if an employee sues it for discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination.
  • Employee dishonesty insurance: This can protect your business from financial losses caused by dishonest employee acts like theft or embezzlement. 
  • Workers' compensation insurance: This coverage provides reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages if an employee gets injured or ill due to job duties or the work environment.
  • Cyber liability insurance: This covers incidents of cybercrime including data breaches and other incidents that can expose and distribute sensitive data like customer credit card numbers.
  • Spoilage coverage: This covers incidents of spoiled inventory like food and beverages due to listed perils like power outages.

Your independent insurance agent will be able to recommend exactly which types of coverage are still required to complete your book store insurance policy.

Get Help Finding the Right Coverage for Your Bookstore

Purchasing business insurance for your bookstore can be a complex ordeal if attempted alone. Instead, allow a local independent insurance agent to help you navigate your many options. These agents work with a number of different insurance companies to help you build a policy that's right for your unique business. They'll shop and compare several policies for you, ultimately matching you to the bookstore coverage that offers the right blend of protection and price.

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