7 Ecommerce Books By Authors Who’ve Actually Built Stores

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Ecommerce books are great because they allow you to learn from the experiences of others so you can avoid making the same mistakes as the authors. If you’re looking to build a successful online shop, then there’s no better place to start than reading ecommerce books by authors who’ve gone through the trials and tribulations of building, managing, and running an online store. 

The following list includes several of these helpful books, starting with those tailored for beginners and getting more advanced as it goes. 

1. Supermaker: Crafting Business on Your Own Terms | Jaime Schmidt

Supermaker: Crafting Business on Your Own Terms | Jaime Schmidt

Best for: New entrepreneurs who want to learn about the wider mechanisms underpinning the ecommerce industry and the process of running a business as a whole

Supermaker covers an author’s journey from making her own products in her kitchen to consumer packaged goods (CGP) leader Unilever acquiring her business in 2017. In the book, Jaime Schmidt offers practical, tested, and evidence-based tips in the most transparent way possible for everyone to understand and apply in their journey to financial success. She emphasizes the role of her supportive family and, in her own words, advocates for continuous progress as long as it doesn’t outweigh the setbacks.

Furthermore, Schmidt shares her first-hand experience dealing with company branding, the best way to brainstorm new ideas, and how to approach interested buyers to close out a potential acquisition. She tells her story with compelling narration that leaves emerging entrepreneurs wanting more, making Supermaker: Crafting Business on Your Own Terms the perfect playbook for ecommerce beginners who want to unlock the secrets of managing an online business.

2. Zero to One: Notes on Startups | Peter Thiel, Blake Masters

Zero to One: Notes on Startups | Peter Thiel, Blake Masters

Best for: Entrepreneurs with a knack for innovation and the propensity for building new ecommerce systems from scratch

Technically speaking, Peter Thiel isn’t known for building an ecommerce store. However, he is one of the co-founders of PayPal—an online payment system that a large chunk of today’s popular ecommerce stores use to secure both incoming and outgoing transactions. Therefore, he’s kind of a big deal in the subject of entrepreneurship and ecommerce.

The book, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, provides an excellent lesson in innovation, entrepreneurship, and how to think outside the box in a world where the status quo is almost always preferable to any alternative choice. Throughout the story, Thiel and co-author Blake Masters dissect the process of how visionary founders think and act when presented with a problem, including what it takes to mitigate an ongoing crisis until a long-term solution can be found.

For example, one of the most important rules in ecommerce, according to Thiel and Masters, is to learn how to differentiate yourself from aggressive competitors in the already overcrowded online shopping space. What can you offer that they don’t? Are you doing everything you can to stand out? 

Answering these questions can go a long way toward building an ecommerce system that can withstand future shocks and become a top dog in your respective vertical.

3. Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers: Transform Your Ecommerce Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine | Cyndi Thomason

Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers: Transform Your Ecommerce Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine | Cyndi Thomason

Best for: Struggling ecommerce sellers who want to increase their online presence and improve their business methodology to facilitate steady growth

Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers is a straightforward, no-holds-barred guide to the most critical ecommerce setbacks owners will likely encounter—including client, vendor, and tax concerns. Additionally, the book offers creative solutions to common ecommerce problems such as managing your inventory, understanding how to work with your financial data, and running your business debt-free.

The author, Cyndi Thomason, is helped by Mike Michalowicz, an inventor and proponent of the original core concepts of the Profit First approach presented by Thomason. Much of her advice and knowledge comes from hands-on experience running bookskeep, a virtual bookkeeping and consultation platform that helps ecommerce businesses manage their Amazon and Shopify accounts. 

Thus, in a sense, Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers is both a theoretical juggernaut and a practical masterpiece on how to run an online store without getting in the way of your own progress in the first few months after launch.

4. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable | Seth Godin

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable | Seth Godin

Best for: Seasoned copywriters, marketers, and other ecommerce creatives who are tired of listening to the same business advice and want to achieve greatness regardless of their industry

Back in the early days of the internet, Seth Godin bootstrapped a book packaging business and co-founded Yoyodyne, a creative marketing agency that he later sold to Yahoo! for almost $30 million. He has also written over 20 books on permission marketing, thought leadership, and healthy perseverance against the influx of both man-made and external setbacks. Therefore, as a true veteran in the field, Seth may know a thing or two about running an ecommerce store and how to inspire people to do the best they can with what they have.

In terms of presentation, the book’s content is concise, impactful, and punchy. You rarely encounter a paragraph in the book that ends without a nugget of wisdom with a rhythmic cadence—aka Seth’s signature move. Here’s an example: “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”

If you are short on ideas and can’t decide where to take your company, it behooves you to pick up Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.

5. 12 Months to $1 Million: How to Pick a Winning Product, Build a Real Business, and Become a Seven-Figure Entrepreneur | Ryan Daniel Moran

12 Months to $1 Million: How to Pick a Winning Product, Build a Real Business, and Become a Seven-Figure Entrepreneur | Ryan Daniel Moran

Best for: Aspiring and existing business owners who don’t buy into the anecdotal prevalence of entrepreneurial buzzwords, cheap hacks, and shortcuts to success, but are instead interested in hearing real-world advice from people who know how to start a business and steer it in the right direction

In many ways, 12 Months to $1 Million could be considered a business roadmap to financial freedom. The book mostly reads like a blueprint divided into three main phases: the beginning phase, the struggle phase, and the growth phase. 

Each of these phases is centered around unmovable core foundations that remain true regardless of the industry or niche. As such, you can read the book from beginning to end, or you can just find the parts that apply to your particular conditions and follow Moran’s advice from there.

Moran himself is a serial entrepreneur, a YouTuber, and a former 8-figure Amazon seller. His affinity for simplicity is reflected in his writing, and his open-mindedness makes 12 Months to $1 Million very approachable—even for people who’ve never even dreamed of running their own business. In other words, Ryan’s lessons and advice are applicable across a wide array of fields and equally relevant for business noobs and seasoned veterans alike. 

6. Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams | Jeff Walker

Launch: An Internet Millionaire's Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams | Jeff Walker

Best for: Informed and experienced business owners looking to improve their inbound marketing, lead generation, and product launch strategies

Despite the insinuations in its title, Launch is everything but a secret formula to overnight success. Jeff Walker knows this and relays invaluable business advice to the reader through the lens of a single father who often feels out of place in the traditional corporate world. 

Throughout the book, it’s clear that Walker isn’t very fond of gray office floors, cubicles, and unproductive business meetings. Instead, he’d rather stay off the beaten path and build something that he cares about—which is how Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams came to be a worldwide success, generating over $1B in product launches for Jeff and his students.

In addition to helping hundreds of people quit their day jobs to become serious business owners, Jeff has coached and worked with some of the most recognizable names in sales, marketing, and self-improvement. These include Tony Robbins, Bill Glazer, Yanik Silver, Frank Kern, and Brendon Burchard.

7. Digital Business and E-Commerce Management: Strategy, Implementation and Practice | Dave Chaffey, Tanya Hemphill, David Edmundson-Bird

Digital Business and E-Commerce Management: Strategy, Implementation and Practice | Dave Chaffey, Tanya Hemphill, David Edmundson-Bird

Best for: Undergraduate and postgraduate students, senior digital marketers, and established business owners who want to refresh their ecommerce knowledge from a broader academic perspective while applying ecommerce best practices to their organizations

The latest edition of Digital Business and E-Commerce Management by Dave Chaffey and co-authors Tanya Hemphill and David Edmundson-Bird is a comprehensive study on digital business that systematically outlines the concepts, methodologies, and vocabulary needed to build and maintain a successful business enterprise.

Interested readers can reinforce their knowledge about a multitude of digital business and ecommerce theories, including:

  • How to plan and execute a viable digital business strategy for different types of organizations
  • How to scale your digital business effectively
  • How to implement search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to facilitate growth
  • How to use content marketing and social media communications to become a recognizable brand name
  • How to think about your business more strategically in the long term

In a nutshell, Digital Business and E-Commerce Management: Strategy, Implementation and Practice is the perfect pick for curious digital business managers and advanced students who want to expand their understanding and master ecommerce over the course of more than 600 pages of extensive, specialized digital business knowledge.

Recap

Whether you’re looking to bootstrap your first online store or trying to find new ways to scale your digital business, there’s an ecommerce book for you. 

Supermaker, Zero to One, and Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers can teach you how to think about online business and the first steps you need to take when launching a store. 

Purple Cow, 12 Months to $1 Million, and Launch discuss topics such as business philosophy, choosing a viable product to sell, and growing your enterprise past the coveted $1M mark. 

Finally, Digital Business and E-Commerce Management serves as an academic manual to shape your online store according to the latest theories in digital business.

If you’re interested in similar resources and starting your own online business, check out our article on the best ecommerce platforms and software.



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