This is an idea that I *KNOW* other people have implemented, but I still think there’s room to expand on it. I was in Taiwan for about 7 months teaching English years back and they had private “manga” libraries (manga is Japanese comic books like Astroboy). It was a little shop, packed with stacks of comic books and teenage boys (and young men) perched on every conceivable surface reading. They would pay a monthly membership fee which would let them come and read the books in the shop (which would be quite a bit cheaper than buying all the comics themselves).
In “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” Robert Koyosaki relates starting something similar with comic books that had (incorrectly) been reported to the publisher as destroyed.
Any fringe area could be a source of clients for such a venture. Say I started a “real estate investors” private library. I could buy all the real estate books that are available (and track down rare fringe books such as John Reed’s or books of historical interest such as William Nickerson’s “How I Turned $1,000 into Five Million in Real Estate in My Spare Time“). Rent a small location on a side street somewhere in town, then provide memberships to people for $30 / month. They can come in and read all they want, talk to other investing enthusiasts, perhaps attend seminars (either given by other members or local professionals who want to do business with the members, sell snacks to them, etc.
Basically, it would be a special interest library and social club in one. Similar clubs could be set up for anything that has a serious enough local interests (think historical aviation enthusiasts, wool spinners, home brewers, etc). I don’t think such a venture would be wildly lucrative, but if you had an interest in the area, it would probably be enjoyable to set something like this up.
It would be good for the members, as they wouldn’t have to buy their own copies of works they’re interested in reading, plus it would give them a venue for meeting like minded individuals. With $30 / member / month it should reasonably easy to keep the rent paid, have a minimum wage employee serving snacks and keeping an eye on the place and maintaining the book collection (replace damaged books and get new ones that come out). If you wanted to go cheaper you could run the club as a non-profit and encourage members to donate their time and books to keep it running.
For this post, or any other of the wacky business ideas I post, obviously I’m releasing any ownership claims I may have over these ideas. If you like something I post and feel like you can make money from it, please feel free to do so! Let me know when you’re opening and we’ll do a post on it to give you some free advertising.
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