Finding software can be overwhelming. We've helped hundreds of bookstores choose the right point of sale software so they can automate inventory control and manage online sales.

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Epos Now

Epos Now is a retail management system for small to mid-sized businesses. In addition to its Point of Sale module, the solution also offers integrated Inventory Management, Customer Management, and Retail Accounting, including gen... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 87 recommendations

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NetSuite

NetSuite is a business management software suite offered as a service that performs enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) functions. It is a horizontal package designed for an extensive rang... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 40 recommendations

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Lightspeed Retail

Lightspeed Retail is a cloud-based POS solution that is suitable for retailers in industries such as apparel, footwear, bike, jewelry, pet, sporting goods and home decor. The solution offers retailers tools including inventory man... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 39 recommendations

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Rain POS

Rain retail software is a cloud-based point of sale (POS) and integrated website solution that is Mac OS and Windows compatible. Rain is an all-in-one platform designed for small to medium sized specialty retailers that offer... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 39 recommendations

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Shopify

Shopify is a web-based e-commerce platform that offers a mobile POS (mPOS) system. The mPOS enables users to manage their business and complete transactions in-store as well as at markets, pop-ups, and trade shows. The e-commerce ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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Brightpearl

Brightpearl is omnichannel-native and designed specifically for retail. It is built to reliably handle peak trading, and it integrates with the full retail tech ecosystem, providing real-time trading insights. And it’s all automat... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Fattmerchant

Fattmerchant is a cloud-based accounting solution suitable for businesses of all sizes across industries such as e-commerce, healthcare and retail. Key features of the solution include point of sale integration, mobile processing,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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CORESense

CORESense is a cloud-based point of sale and retail management solution that is designed for merchants. The solution helps retailers to keep track of their in-house inventories and manage orders received from customers. The r... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Chondrion

Chondrion’s cloud-based selling and fulfillment suite is designed with a focus on automation instead of manual intervention. Integrated modules include Inventory Management, supply-chain optimization, Customer Service, Point-of-Sa... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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PayPal

PayPal is a digital payment platform that enables businesses and individuals to pay and accept payments through an online portal without revealing any financial details. The solution is suitable for businesses of all sizes. P... Read more

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Square Point of Sale

Square Point of Sale is a mobile POS system available for iOS and Android devices. Key capabilities of the Square POS system include online payment processing, sales reports, inventory tracking, digital receipts, Square marketing ... Read more

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PayPal Here

PayPal Here is a mobile application that allows retailers and merchants to process transactions. The application uses a card reader device attached to a smartphone. This solution helps retailers and field sales staff to process tr... Read more

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Square for Retail

Square for Retail is a cloud-based point of sale (POS) and retail solution for all retailers. Key features include inventory management, customer relationship management, reporting and employee management. The solution comes with ... Read more

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PHP Point of Sale

PHP POS is a hybrid point of sale (POS) solution that helps small and startup retail businesses across various industries to manage their day to day business operations, interact with customers and process financial transactions. ... Read more

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Route4Me

Route4Me is a cloud-based fleet management solution designed for small, midsize and large businesses. Primary features include route planning and routing guides. It allows users to type-in or upload customer addresses and plan a r... Read more

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Quickbooks Point of Sale

QuickBooks Point of Sale is a retail point of sale system suitable for various small businesses such as clothing and shoe stores, small franchises, sporting goods stores and gift shops. It offers inventory and customer management ... Read more

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WooPOS

WooPOS is a cloud-based solution that helps small to midsize businesses in the retail industry manage inventory and streamline point-of-sale operations. The centralized platform enables users to record clients' contact information... Read more

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LS Retail

LS Retail is a retail management system consisting of point of sale (POS) and enterprise resource planning (ERP). Key features include inventory management, customer management, retail accounting, e-commerce, warehouse management ... Read more

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RetailEdge

RetailEdge is an on-premise, retail point-of-sale (POS) solution designed for small and midsize business. It offers mobile POS, multi-location support, website integration, credit card processing and gift card management function... Read more

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Authorize.Net

Authorize.Net is a cloud-based payment processing software that helps streamline the submission of customer transactions to the payment processing networks. Designed for resellers, merchants and small businesses, the platform prov... Read more

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: April 8, 2021

No specialty retailers have been affected more by the emergence of online superstores than book and music shops. In addition, book and music store owners face the challenge of having to compete against the e-book and downloadable music market. Many are forced to rethink their business strategy to meet growing consumer needs for books and music files that can be accessed from a laptop or mobile device.

To differentiate themselves from Internet retailers, book businesses are becoming shopping destinations instead of just stores. For example, many have started to offer an expanded selection of non-core items, such as coffee and food.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Bookstore Software?
Common Features of Bookstore POS and Inventory Software
Benefits of Bookstore POS and Inventory Software
Deployment Options

What Is Bookstore Software?

There are thousands of retail point of sale (POS) software vendors on the market to help book and music retailers with the most critical aspects of their business, such as inventory and pricing. Systems exist for large organizations with several locations, small “mom and pop” stores, and everything in between. The goal of this buyer’s guide is to help book and music retailers find the right POS software to meet their needs in this evolving market.

Book inventory software and POS are the key modules for book stores and music shop software. Book and music store inventories typically contain just a few duplicates of a large number of items, and special orders are common. Books and magazines are usually identified with a number in the form of a bar code, called the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) respectively. CDs (and albums, cassettes and 45s produced after the 1970s) have Universal Product Codes (UPCs).

Many shops also have customer service and loyalty programs built into their business strategy, so customer relationship management (CRM) is another important aspect of software solutions as music and book stores are embracing social media to attract and maintain customers.

Ideally, systems should support both traditional stores and online sales, “bricks and clicks” operations. And, if stores buy product from customers to resell, the POS and accounts payable features need to integrate for the payments to be processed properly.

Common Features of Bookstore POS and Inventory Software

Book and music retailers should consider the following functions to meet their unique requirements:

Online inventory A book or music store should have access to an online inventory system for the latest books and special orders.
ISBN and ISSN lookup The system should be able to look up the ISBN or ISSN for any book or magazine. The information, such as title, publisher and publication date, can be imported into the bookstore inventory software.
Non-book/non-music items The system should support the sale of non-book/non-music items such as beverages, snacks and toys.
UPC lookup Access to a UPC library for CDs and other inventory is critical. The system should be able to populate the inventory system with stock numbers and descriptions from the UPC library.
Online store The system should support online sales of items through a Web storefront. If there are both an online store and a physical store, there should be an option to share the inventory between them or to keep the inventories separate.
Promotional pricing The system should allow sale and promotional pricing. The pricing should change in the POS and inventory automatically at a specified time and date, if desired.
Customer loyalty program As part of CRM and to further solidify customer relations, many music and book stores have customer loyalty programs. The store system should track sales history and monitor loyalty program points awarded and redeemed.
Spoilage reporting If the store sell perishable goods; the “sell by” dates must be tracked, expired inventory must be collected and disposed of and the process properly documented.
Gift set packaging One of the key promotions for book and music stores are gift sets. The POS system must support gift set sales for a single price but correctly decrease inventory levels for the individual items when a gift set is sold.
Book/music buying If the store buys used books or music for resale, the system should have access to an online database to help determine the price. The POS should support the buying process and handle the transaction correctly through accounts payable and general ledger.
Online music and e-book sales If there is an online store, it should be able to sell music downloads and e-books in popular formats. Online bookstore software should handle the digital rights management (DRM) and royalties.
Online storefront integration Many bookstore owners will sell through other online mediums, such as Amazon, Biblio, AbeBooks and others. The system should be able to integrate with these online storefronts.
Query-based lists Users should be able to create lists and sublists of inventory based on keywords. A very helpful feature for both store owners and customers.
Customizable fields The system should allow users to create new fields, customize the length of these fields and vary the type of information included.

Benefits of Bookstore POS and Inventory Software

One should be able to see the operational and experiential benefits provided by the adoption of bookstore POS software. The three top benefits of the software include:

  • Accurate, automated inventory control. Any retailer would like to excel at managing inventory levels, but it’s especially the case for bookstores. Inventory features enable users to determine and never to run out of popular titles on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis.
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  • More efficient shopping experiences. The organizational benefits of bookstore inventory management enables any and all employees to quickly find items for customers, rather than having to sort through the section they’re “pretty sure it should be in.” This will lead to a greater overall customer experience and hopefully encourage repeat business.

Deployment Options

Most book stores use on-premise systems. In fact, paper-based systems are still used by some. However, software as a service (SaaS) systems are available and provide an attractive alternative for book stores and music shops that are upgrading or replacing current systems.

Most SaaS, or Web-based, applications are hosted on the vendor’s servers and paid for by monthly subscription. This deployment option is ideal for buyers who prefer lower monthly payments over a costly upfront investment.

A final benefit of SaaS software is increased accessibility. Users can access these systems from any device with an Internet connection and from Mac or PC operating systems.