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Bookshops are best route to market

22 September 2014

From The Bookseller:

Bookshops in the UK and Ireland must “invest” to become “the best in the world,” the Bookseller Association president Tim Walker has told delegates at the Bookseller Association Conference.

. . . .

Walker made the rallying cry for bookshops to arm-up in the face of digital and online bookselling, telling the delegation that bookshops were still publishers’ and authors’ “very best route to market”.

Booksellers will succeed by engaging better with customers and reminding them that “bookshops are still the very best places to discover books,” Walker said. “In this modern bookselling era of p-books and e-books, the world has not ended for bookshops as many predicted. Yes it is tough, but print book sales through bookshops are still strong and whilst it is easy to become distracted by the allure of digital media, we must maintain publishers’ and authors’ focus on the fact that booksellers and bookshops are still their very best route to market.”

He added: “We should reiterate our belief that booksellers believe in freedom, diversity, partnership and a profitable book industry for all. We all need this profitability. Booksellers must invest to make our bookshops some of the best in the world.”

Walker also called on publishers to print high quality physical books and make sure they put “authors back at the heart of our trade” by paying them higher royalties.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

Bookstores, Non-US

26 Comments to “Bookshops are best route to market”

  1. Walker also called on publishers to print high quality physical books and make sure they put “authors back at the heart of our trade” by paying them higher royalties.

    Good luck with that.

  2. To which market? The farmer’s market next door?

    Because to say that it’s the best way to market for an author when there’s KDP (and B&N, Apple, etc.) would just be silly.

  3. Talk about tsunamis of swill.

  4. The Experience Economy was first put forth in (I think) 1998.

    It’s a great idea and can benefit indie bookstores. But even mastering said, bookstores cannot compete in marketing with the electron.


  5. Ok, they need to invest.
    What form should that take, exactly?

  6. “We should reiterate our belief that booksellers believe in freedom, diversity, partnership and a profitable book industry for all.”

    Really? So that’s why the mad rush to stock the new, exciting voices found in indie publishing!


  7. To be fair, the headline is a quote from the Bookseller Association president at the Bookseller Association Conference. So it isn’t a surprise.

    Overall, I’m actually impressed at what Walker stood for when he said, “Publishers must continue to take risks, to discover exciting new authors and to publish books that are printed up to a specification and not down to the lowest price; and, of course, we booksellers want to see authors back at the heart of our trade being fairly and richly rewarded for their work.”

  8. Not according to my accountant.

    I do, however, love bookstores. I’d love to see independents thrive.

  9. I think my definition of “best” differs from his. Indie brick-and-mortar bookstores can grow an author’s readership by ones and twos.

    Online retailers like Amazon, Apple, Kobo, GooglePlay, and B&N can grow an author’s readership by tens of thousands.

    Can he cite any data or evidence to support his claim that indie bookstores are the “best” route to market? Or even offer any anecdotes?

    I do love him for suggesting that publishers should pay higher royalties. That was sweet of him. Never gonna happen, but sweet.

  10. I am finding that bookstores are good places to discover $40 pillows, mostly. Plus, throw rugs, kitchen doo-dads and plush toys.

    • I don’t know how you’ve done this, but now my Amazon recommendations feature various lines of throw pillows. I have not searched for any such thing, so I blame you.

  11. Unfortunately, I agree Daleo. I’d love to argue because I used to love bookstores, but they are turning into toys r us. I accept that they need high profit items to be competetive and turn a profit, but when I can’t find a single Joe Konrath book on the shelf or anything by Kris Rusch, I get discouraged.

    My local bookstore has heaps of King and Patterson, and they SHOULD sell those, but let’s be honest here. Wal-Mart sells those guys, sells them cheaper and has more customers. No one is going to run into my local indie store to pay $28 for the next patterson hardcover when it is $18 in Wallyworld.

    Casual readers don’t go to bookstores that much anyway – they buy whatever the local grocer or big box has on hand. So why not cater to the people who buy lots of books? Have enough King and Patterson to keep the bestseller seekers happy, but stop devoting half your store to stuff you’ll sell no matter what.

    If I knew I could sell 100 copies of King the weekend his book comes out, the last thing I would do is load a whole table with 100 copies. I’d rather put out 10 and refill it 10 times a day and have other books near King to be discovered.

    Think about it. If you have a guy who shops with you 5 times a year – every time King, Cussler, Patterson, Child and Collins release a book, he is only coming 5 times. Turn him on to Joe Konrath and maybe he swings in 3 more times a year to get those. Turn him on to Dean Wesley Smith and Hugh Howey and he comes in a few more.

    There is a reason the bread is at the back of the grocery store. They want you to walk by cookies and soda pop on the way. If you own a bookstore, why the hell do you put Stephen King in the window and then on a table in the front next to the register?

    I love bookstores and booksellers, but some of them have zero business sense.

  12. But… you guys won’t even carry our books. What exactly are you asking us to do by asking us to maintain our print formats?

    Oh, my bad. You were talking to publishers. Huh.

  13. Forgive my ignorance, but WTF is a p-book?

    Also, I have this dream in the back of my head. I want to sell enough books so I can afford to open an indie bookstore.

    Ideally, I think, I would take over an old movie theater and think of the place as a gathering place for readers and writers with a nice gift shop.

    Mostly, I wanna have one of those machines.

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