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Are bookstores in danger of dying out?

(9 Posts)
Earlybird Mon 10-Jan-11 13:14:50

Our local (and quite wonderful) bookstore has announced they are closing due to
* rent increases
* customers ordering online (Amazon etc) instead of buying in person
* customers buying for kindles and other electronic readers
* price of books (Amazon and superstores such as Costco can sell for much better prices than local shop can offer)

I must admit I often purchase online when I know exactly what I want, or when I am buying a gift I want shipped to the recipient.

Do you still visit and purchase from bookstores regularly? Why or why not?

I feel quite sad that I can no longer go to a favourite spot to browse, find out about new books, hear an author do a reading, ask a knowledgeable person for advice on books, etc. But perhaps bookstores are in danger of becoming extinct?

oneortwo Mon 10-Jan-11 13:20:02

yeah I like to browse book stores but rarely buy there unless its an impulse buy or last min present. They're not competing with amazon etc and its sad but I can't afford to pay an extra £4 per book than I need to just to support them. Sometimes for gifts I go to discount book stores (y'know the temporary "closing down" ones)

Books are also one of the things that we cut back on first when tightening our belts, so we get our fiction etc from the library and only buy reference books and presents.

I get DS's books from The Works or Temporary discount book shops as he's still at that stage and they're about 4 for £5. In my local book shop same books are about £7 each!

danabu Mon 10-Jan-11 13:30:34

It's a problem faced by many small businesses, ie customers being able to buy cheaper elsewhere.

Browsing, listening to authors, asking a knowledgeable person for advice - none of these produce income for the store, unless you then go on to purchase books from them.

Earlybird Mon 10-Jan-11 16:57:21

Of course you're correct - those activities are not directly income producing.

I buy a book online when I know exactly what I want. Most other book purchases (non-essential) have been as a result of being in a bookstore where I've browsed, taken a recommendation,etc. It is those purchases which have been discretionary (and possibly could be labelled 'impulse buys'). But those are often the books I've enjoyed most of all - they haven't always been particularly 'useful', but were often mind-expanding and pleasurable.

So - to me - the loss of a bookstore means a big loss of the pleasure of discovering something new, and possibly means I will read/purchase far less for pleasure. Shame to think that many more purchases will now be judged on their tangible value.

BlingLoving Mon 10-Jan-11 17:02:04

Yes and no.

A book store on every high street is definitely something we will not see in the future. Specialist book stores will still exist. Ditto, i think there will always be a couple of generalist stores, but they'll be big and they will be spread out.

Similarly, we are already seeing the demise of CD shops. Largely, shops that previously sold CDs are changing to selling DVDs so they still exist but have changed their merchandise, but in time that might change as well.

While I do think it's sad on one hand, I acknowledge that I buy most books on Amazon or for my Kindle so it seems a bit silly to then bemoan the lack of book stories as I no longer use them.

I think also that if you do want to buy a book on a high street, you'll do it at a generalist store like WH Smith or similar.

I'm also interested in whether online stores will start to use real world store fronts in any form in the future. I can't quite visualise it yet, but I'm conscious that being able to see one page of suggestions on Amazon, isn't the same as having the floor of a book shop spread out before you.

Earlybird Wed 12-Jan-11 21:27:20

Have been reading today that the Borders chain is in financial difficulty.

Before we know it, we'll only be able to buy books online or in a small section of a large store. sad

stleger Wed 12-Jan-11 21:46:25

I always buy all my new books from my local bookshop - because I work there!

Earlybird Thu 13-Jan-11 12:36:15

stleger - how long have you worked there? Do you know if there has been a noticeable decrease in sales/revenue over the years?

stleger Thu 13-Jan-11 16:05:34

I have been in my job 7 years - I'm in Ireland, where money is 'a little tight at the moment' grin. Things went downhill two years ago, when we had an emergency budget in October, which ruined Christmas! Higher taxes, coupled with removal of various school library grants have hit us, along with Amazon free delivery, exchange rates and electronics. My hours are now fewer, boss negotiated a rent reduction - it is on a knife edge. I used to work in Cambridge in the eighties in Heffers, then an independent with several shops - most of the staff wanted publishing jobs. The recession at the start of the nineties, plus exchange rate (strong pound), Amazon starting up, competition from Dillons, Waterstones etc. caused major havoc - but Heffers is still there. I don't know if the UK chains are the same as here, but the 3 for 2 offers are often a bad deal - the prices of the individual books are often higher than the same books in an independent wink.

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