Rise of the Manga Entrepreneur?

Now that Borders has filed for bankruptcy and the local Borders is closing, maybe its time to dust off those plans to open a manga cafe in the neighborhood! My wife suggested this, perhaps only half seriously, in response to yesterday’s post.

We started talking about the idea a few years ago. The idea was to open a little shop specializing in East Asian popular culture. This would include graphic novels, such as manga, along with Chinese martial arts novels. Video games, including hard to find imports, would also be part of the mix. And to keep things fresh and interesting, we’d also have a cosplay component. Staff would cosplay according to some weekly theme and we might even offer discounts or other incentives to customers who visited the store in costume.

Books are not a high margin business, so the shop would make most of its money selling beverages and pre-packaged baked goods. Sitting around reading manga would be encouraged as long as you bought something to drink or eat. A paid membership program would offer additional perks. Monthly open mike karaoke nights would round out the shop’s offerings.

In planning this, I felt that a key element to success would be keeping abreast of the latest trends and nimbly adjusting to take advantage of them. Obviously this entails a lot of work, but I do a lot of this already, so it would really just be monetizing my favorite hobbies. Now that the Borders down the street is closing, maybe this shop will finally see the light of day!

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