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34 Of The Best Business Books You Need To Read If You're In The eCommerce Industry

There's no textbook answer to running a business - we all have to learn the hard way. But, by learning from others, you can improve your business growth tenfold.

That's why we've compiled a list of some of the best business books out there, so that you can get inspired and learn from a selection of experienced eCommerce professionals.

In this guide, we've narrowed it down to 34 top business books to help you grow and build the profitable business and brand that you wish to see.

Plus, you'll see some exclusive recommendations from successful entrepreneurs who have been in your shoes, growing their online businesses from the ground up.

Books to help with selling on marketplaces

1. eBay Business All-in-One for Dummies Collection by Marsha Collier

This book is more focused on eBay businesses, but the information is still valuable for your own individual business, regardless of what channel you sell on.

Written as a complete guide (nine of her eBay books in one), this book is perfect for anyone seeking to kickstart their business on an online marketplace such as eBay.

For marketplace sellers looking to grow their eBay business, this book is for you.

Amazon rating: 4.5/5 stars

2. Product Research 101: How to FInd Profitable Products to Sell on Amazon, eBay and Other Platforms by Braxton Scott

Product Research 101 is for any seller looking to expand to other marketplaces in the next stage of growing their business, and find which products will generate the most profit.

It covers all points about selling on marketplaces and also gives advice on deciding which marketplaces to sell on based on your product range. Simple as that.

Amazon rating: 5/5 stars

3. The Handmade Marketplace: How to sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally and Online by Kari Chapin

This book explores all possibilities when it comes to selling your handmade products.

The classic marketplaces - such as Etsy - are covered, however, Chapin also explains the bigger steps you can take to expand your creative business.

Amazon rating: 3.8/5 stars

4. All In: 101 Real-Life Business Lessons for Emerging Entrepreneurs by Bill Green

Published in 2017, this complete guide is essential for any entrepreneur wherever they are in their journey to grow their business.

Author Bill Green explains why this book is valuable to the community of online sellers:

"All In is as much a tactical handbook as it is an intimate look at what entrepreneurship looks like on the ground floor. It's suitable for sellers on different sales, from a flea market table to a hardware store that eventually expanded to generate over $650m in annual sales."

"For any emerging entrepreneur looking to build the next big business, this book sheds light on what it truly takes to be a successful entrepreneur."

A tip from the author:

"Consider this the aspiring business leader's trusty guide - and one final reminder of what it takes to build a successful business: You have to go 'All In'."

Amazon rating: 4.5/stars

5. The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries

This business book is written to teach its readers to understand their audience, and piece together what your buyers like, and don't like.

Entrepreneur and founder of Vervaunt, Paul Rodgers, is a big fan and would recommend the book himself:

"I remember reading this when I was younger, and it made me think differently about launching things; not just businesses but websites and offerings too."

"I think the principles around lean operations and also the idea of basing a roadmap/improvements from launching an MVP were really valuable to me, having not really read any books of this nature before and being very early into running a side business."

"I'd definitely recommend reading - there are also some great examples of how the author, Eric Ries, launched and failed with businesses too, which I found very interesting as well."

Amazon rating: 4.6/5 stars

6. Online Business Start-Up: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Launching a Fast, Lean and Profitable Online Venture by Robin Waite

This business book really strips entrepreneurship to the core values.

It is written by one of the most successful business owners in the UK and will ensure your business covers the basics of leadership, while sharing advice that has come directly from experience.

It also covers social media strategies, tools for improving your website and guides to finding trusted sources for your business.

From the author:

"I wrote Online Business Start-Up to help others get their businesses online in as lean a format as possible. It is designed to overcome some of the preconceptions that websites should be free, cheap or DIY and that a website is an essential asset to invest in building for every business."

"On the flipside, I have built up a wealth of knowledge in business and wished I had a book like this to help me in my own start-up journey back in 2004."

"We are flooded with so much information in the digital world that it distracts us from the fundamentals of starting up and running a lean business."

Online Business Start-Up will teach you:

  • Everything you need to start an online business without the wasted time, money and effort
  • How to find a trustworthy, reliable digital agency and guarantee a return on your investment
  • The seven best tools for auditing and improving your website
  • How to plan and implement a successful social media strategy

Amazon rating: 4.8/5 stars

7. A Book About Innocent: Our Story and Some Things We Learned by Innocent

This book is written by one of the biggest global companies: Innocent Smoothies.

The company sold just 24 bottles of smoothies when the business first started in 1999, and this book spills the secrets of their journey to selling more than two million bottles a week.

Amazon rating: 4.6/5 stars

This leads us nicely on to the next set of books you should be reading if you were looking to grow a smaller business into an empire. 

Books to grow small businesses into empires

8. How to Sell Online: The Experts' Guide to Making Your Business More Successful and Profitable Online by Christer Holloman

Published in 2016, this business book is written by a tech expert, so expect a lot of modern ways to make your business successful.

It also covers how you can use cost-effective ways to grow your business, such as through social media or other marketing strategies.

Christer spoke to me about how this book can benefit a growing business:

"In this book, I reveal how you can grow your online business for short, medium and long-term growth, accompanied with expert commentary from leaders behind some of the most successful online retailers."

"Understanding your customer is at the heart of this book as I explain how the customer journey works, and how this understanding can help you to convert more browsers into buyers - and retain them from here on in."

"With practical advice on implementing cost-effective sales and marketing, as well as a detailed exploration into using the right technology for your business, this book helps online businesses to become more profitable, whatever the size or industry."

A tip from the author:

"Firstly, don't write a business plan. Secondly, bullet point the initial small steps that would let you test your idea out as quickly as possible with the least investment."

"This way you can find out if your idea has legs straight away, as well as revealing the potential challenges you may face in the future."

Amazon rating: 4.5/5 stars

9. eCommerce: Get it Right! by Ian Daniel 

This is a full guide to properly enhance your skills at growing your online business which provides actionable tips and advice on how you can do exactly this, which also work on a short and long-term growth. 

Amazon rating: 4.7/5 stars

10. Take Your Shot: How to Grow Your Business, Attract More Clients and Make More Money by Robin Waite

This is Robin's newest addition on business growth. It tells the story of a family man whose business goes under, and he struggles to find ways of saving it until he meets his business coach David.

Whilst keeping you hooked on a story, it fuels ideas on how to grow a successful eCommerce business. 

We had a chat with Robin about the story behind this book.

 

Amazon rating: 5/5 stars

11. Traction: How Any Start-Up Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinburg & Justin Mares

This business book takes us through the harsh reality of why most businesses fail. Traction explains what it means to keep loyal customers as well as obtaining new ones. It provides tools to really expand customer growth for your business, for short-term and long-term growth. 

Amazon rating: 4.3/5 stars

12. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone

The strategy of inspiration and hard work is the main angle of this book. It discusses the 4th degree (also known as the 10 X Rule) and how this strategy can improve your business growth and personal growth.

Alex McCann, owner of Antrinchamp.com, feels this book inspired his business to do well, and talks about which strategy from this book he lives by.

Amazon rating: 4.5/5 stars

13. Smarter, Faster, Better - The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg

Published in 2017, this book presents seven vital concepts to running a business, including decision-making, goal setting and success.

It's a New York Times Bestseller, split into individual stories of how businesses deal with everyday life and really does dig deep into the science of productivity. 

Amazon rating: 4.2/5 stars 

14. Hooked by Nir Eyal

This book explores the reasons why some products sell, and why others don't. Then, it gives advice on how you can find the best products to sell for your business and build products that, based on research, you know will sell. 

A word from the author: 

“Why do some products capture widespread attention while others flop? What makes us engage with certain products out of sheer habit? Is there a pattern underlying how technologies hook us?”

“l answer these questions (and many more) by explaining the Hook Model—a four-step process embedded into the products of many successful companies to subtly encourage customer behaviour.”

“Through consecutive “hook cycles,” these products reach their ultimate goal of bringing users back again and again without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.”

“Hooked is based on my many years of research, consulting, and practical experience. I wrote the book I wished had been available to me as a start-up founder — not abstract theory, but a how-to guide for building better products.”

“Hooked is written for product managers, designers, marketers, start-up founders, and anyone who seeks to understand how products influence our behaviour.” 

Amazon rating: 4.5/5 stars

15. A Marvellous Reputation by Lucy Matthews

This book takes you through the ten life lessons that author Lucy Matthews learned after 35 years of PR experience. Although PR in the past has been seen as a "dark art," Lucy explains how (in her opinion) it's the hidden secret of business growth. 

I had a chat with Lucy to discuss this topic further:

Amazon rating: 5/5 stars 

Books to get inspired by for business owners

16. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

The Hard Thing About Hard Things is essential for entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures.

It makes a great read, knowing it has come from Horowitz's personal and often humbling experiences. Published in 2014, Horowitz gives a few home truths about the challenges that a business owner faces but also gives advice on how to overcome them. 

Amazon rating: 4.6/5 stars

17. Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth Behind Success by Matthew Syed

Black Box Thinking explores the reasons why most businesses make mistakes in the first place, but also compiles a strategy that allows a business to learn from them.

The Black Box refers to one you'd find in an airplane, where any mistakes made during a trip can be analysed and fixed

This book explains the logic behind this, and how every business should get a Black Box plan to make sure you see the mistakes you make, and how to learn from them.

I spoke with Scott Cruickshanks, who took on the strategy would highly recommend others do the same.

Amazon rating: 4.7/5 stars

18. The Power of Broke by Daymond John

For sellers who are struggling with that logical approach, this author covers all excuses when it comes to businesses failing to succeed.

Daymond John started his t-shirt business on a budget of just $40 and has grown his empire through none other than thinking outside the box, and he gives you the exclusive strategy to do the same.

Amazon rating: 4.3/5 stars

19. The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks 

The New York Times Bestselling author, Gay Hendricks, writes a highly inspirational business book on how to connect with others to build a great business.

Gemma Stow, founder of the F movement says this book completely changed her thinking: 

“This was one of the first books I read when I started my online business. I had to read it twice before it started to sink in. However, it has a huge impact on my business especially my mindset around success.” 

“My favourite part of the book is when the author talks about where ‘Upper limits’ come from and how they impact on your daily life. Upper limits are the limits we put on ourselves and the different parts of our lives including, money, relationships and our work."

"We have this internal thermometer that kicks in when we reach new levels that feel out of our reach. The four areas in daily life are; worrying, criticism and blame, squabbling and getting sick or hurt.”

“It is a really interesting concept and the more you notice how you think, feel and behave then you can make the necessary changes so you don't have any more limits keeping you from achieving what you really want.”

“Personally, it was when I started to really take my business to the next level and earn more money than I had as a Probation Officer.  It has been a game changer for me, and I always recommend this book to anyone in business and all my clients.” 

Amazon rating: 4.6/5 stars

20. Like A Virgin - Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School by Richard Branson

If you need honest, experienced advice or just want some inspiration from one of the biggest entrepreneurs in the world, this book is for you. 'Like A Virgin' was published in 2012 and contains strategies and plans covering angles from social media to leadership skills. 

Amazon rating: 4.3/5 stars

21. Reinventing You by Dorie Clark

Business is changing rapidly, and disruption is everywhere.

To succeed, we have to master adaptability and reinvention. Reinventing You provides a step-by-step guide to help you assess your unique strengths, develop a compelling personal brand, and ensure that others recognise the powerful contribution you can make.

It mixes personal stories with engaging interviews, and examples from Mark Zuckerberg, Al Gore, Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, to show you how to think big about your professional goals, take control of your career and finally live the life you want.

A note from the author: 

“My intention in writing Reinventing You was to create a playbook and roadmap so that talented professionals can adapt more quickly to changes in the workplace and reinvent themselves successfully.”

Amazon rating: 3.4/5 stars

22. Think And Grow Rich: Napoleon Hill

This book is bursting with authentic insights into what makes successful business owners tick. It explores the findings of Napoleon Hill's research of 40 millionaires and the journey they took to get where they are today. 

Amazon rating: 4.4/5 stars

Customer-focused business growth books

23. Return on Relationship by Ted Rubin and Kathryn Rose

This book covers all aspects of not only starting a relationship with your customers, but also how to keep this relationship a positive one. It provides practical tips and online tools you can use to keep in touch, solve issues and handle feedback.

Author Ted Rubin explains the structure of this book:  

“In Return on Relationship, we present real world, practical ideas that will help businesses maximise their potential through using community-focused tools. You'll discover:

  • How to maximise your potential by using the right community-focused tools on the Internet and the importance of moving from ‘convince and convert’ to ‘converse and convert.’
  • What main problems will keep you from seeing dramatic results.
  • How building engaged and responsive communities around your brand will significantly impact your bottom line.”

Amazon rating: 4.6/5 stars

24. The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences by Matt Watkinson 

This award-winning book explains the ten most important principles when it comes to customer service, for start-up businesses to global empires. It highlights the true importance of good customer service, with no jargon, and explained in a clear context. 

Amazon rating: 4.6/5 stars

25. Outside In - The Power of Putting Customers at the Centre of Your Business by Kerry Bodine and Harley Manning

Customer-centric attitudes are proving to be very strong for businesses and this book covers all the facts, including that good customer service should apply to everyone in the business, from the CEO to the sales team, to the marketers, to the bedroom sellers. 

Amazon rating: 4.4/5 stars

26. Customer Service Made Easy by Paul Levesque

Customer Service Made Easy has a simple yet effective strategy for creating brilliant relationships between customer and business.

It teaches employees to connect with their customers and understand what their customers want, to effectively turn their business into a flashpoint business. 

Amazon rating: 4.8/5 stars

27. Contagious - How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age by Jonah Berger

The main focus behind Contagious is optimisation of your brand, covering the importance of feedback and positive reviews. The best thing about word-of-mouth is that anyone can enjoy something and tell their friends and family.

The book generates twice as many sales as media alone, so if you're looking for the best practical advice to get your business recognised, this is the one for you. 

Amazon rating: 4.4/5 stars

28. The Digital Transformation Playbook - Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age by David Rogers

This book solves the issue that most businesses have in this day and age – how to compete with a forever growing digital age. It covers social media marketing for your business, and takes you through five key strategies: customers, competition, data, innovation, and value. 

Amazon rating: 4.6/5 stars

eCommerce expert book recommendations  

Matt Thorpe is an eCommerce consultant and entrepreneur, he has 14 years of eCommerce experience and has been helping online businesses get off the ground:

"For over 14 years, I have helped companies of all sizes to grow their online businesses just by fixing their problems and providing sensible strategy.”

“Many approach me with very limited budgets so it is even more important that I work with them to implement clever processes to maximise their marketing spend, make them work smarter and grow their sales.”

Matt has recommended three books from his personal library:

29. Purple Cow, New Edition - Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

Purple Cow (from the godfather of marketing) explores the choices we face as a business owner on a daily basis. With an industry so competitive, it teaches you how to appeal to your audience without blending into the crowd. 

"This book teaches you how to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Important when there's so much noise around."

Amazon rating: 4.1/5 stars

30. How To Be F***ing Awesome: Dan Meredith

This rude-titled (yet informative) book is filled with motivational words that will finally get you running the business you wanted. So, for business owners who are stuck on a task or are perhaps worried about the next marketplace to sell on, this book is for you. 

"The title is rude, but the audio-book is brilliant. It can basically teach you how to get out of your own way and achieve more. It's excellent."

Amazon rating: 4.7/5 stars

31. Finish - Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff

"This book is about setting realistic goals. Most people fail because they are perfectionists and end up never going live, launching or achieving things because they set the bar too high. Often, it's best to launch a minimum viable product and run with it."

Amazon rating: 5/5 stars 

Alison Edger is known as "The Entrepreneur's Godmother" and has helped businesses grow and scale for over 25 years. Through training, coaching, workshops and online courses, Alison has worked with hundreds of businesses. She's developed a four-pillar sales technique which is guaranteed to increase your sales and scale your business every time. 

Alison recommends these three books: 

32. Four Key Pillars of Sales by Alison Edgar

"This is my first ever book, so of course I had to mention it. I wrote it to help entrepreneurs and business owners build their business by generating sales. Sharing my Four Key Pillars of Sales methodology, I reveal the sales secrets that I learned as an award-winning salesperson working for blue-chip organisations for 20 years.”

“This book provides entrepreneurs with the sales knowledge necessary for a successful business, whether it be product, service, online or offline, the principles in this book can be applied to all businesses."

33. Oversubscribed by Dan Priestley

"This book is by my friend Dan Priestley and I highly recommend it for any business trying to build a recognisable brand in a crowded marketplace. In Oversubscribed, Dan shares with you his seven principles for creating demand that helps you to build your data and win over customers." 

Amazon rating: 4.6/5 stars

34. Starting A Business For £99 by Emma Jones

"If there is one woman you need to know about in business it’s Emma Jones. Queen of Enterprise she knows what she is talking about when it comes to starting and growing a business.”

“Her book walks you through each stage of setting up a business from creating the idea to dealing with technology, not only that but it teaches you how to do it on a budget. I recommend this to anyone thinking about starting a business or even if you’ve already started and are looking for a bit of help.”

Amazon rating: 5/5 stars

Read, learn and take your business up a level

These business books are bursting with information that will fuel the growth of your retail company.

Scaling is one of the most difficult stages in business growth, so if you were going to have a library, make at least some of these books part of this collection and get learning, the old-fashioned way.

If you've read any of these books or feel that I've missed out on any hidden gems, list them in the comments section below.

Happy reading!

Topics: eCommerce Marketing, Business Growth