I’m not usually a fan of books that purport to tell the reader how to be successful at a business. Skeptical me (my ever-growing alter ego) always thinks that the REAL business is the money the author is making off the “how-to” book itself. But, once before, while studying how to start my own game store a few years ago, I wasn’t sure if a brick and mortar location would be viable and I wanted to keep all my options open. Desperate for knowledge of any kind, I picked up a book by Shirley Tan, called Ecomm Hell.  I found that book to be extremely helpful, not so much in teaching me the nuts and bolts of e-commerce, but mostly for getting me to think about all the things that I would never have thought of had I not had the benefit of Shirley’s experience. So, when I saw Friendly Local Game Store: A Five-Year Path To A Middle-Class Income, written by successful game store owner and blogger, Gary L. Ray, I was both skeptical and intrigued.

As a game store owner myself for the last four years, I still am desperate for any information that could help me improve my business. I figured this book would at least entertain, if not inform, so I picked it up. And it was hard to put down. A day later, I had read all 174 pages. Mr. Ray does an excellent job of explaining just about every aspect of owning a game store – the things you might never think about – from EIN numbers to concepts such as “unique value proposition” and turn rates. Ray’s writing style is both informative and entertaining. He artfully uses mathematical charts along with personal anecdotes to get his points across equally. It really feels like you are sitting across a table from him as he demonstrates his points in person.

RELATED: Check out our board game reviews!

As for the soundness of the information within, based on my own experience, Ray hits the mark on what you should expect – from the start up costs, hard work and long hours no one will appreciate, to the ups and downs of the art (and regular failures) of inventory management, and even the tricky business of financing. In this regard, his book would definitely help someone decide if they are really up to the task of starting a game store. I believe it would be a sobering experience for a good many readers. For $25 (or $10 on Kindle) it’s certainly an economical way to inform your decision. I also think existing game store owners could stand to learn (or at least re-evaluate) some things from Mr. Ray’s expertise. I know I did.

Check it out.

For a link to the book on Amazon, click here

For a link to Gary Ray’s blog, click here



Rob Fenimore
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