Over the past couple of months, bookshops have been a prominent topic in the news and have been something which I have been blogging about over the months. Not only are bookshops one of the key places publishers can sell their works, they are also places of inspiration. Bookshops are places of beauty. I love visiting bookshops, I could spend all day in one. It is for this reason that I have been keeping an eye on any news about bookshops which has recently been in the media.
The Bookseller has published two articles over the past couple of days where they stated that ‘bookshop browsing is vital for the publishing industry’. One of the points which was emphasised was that bookshops enable customers to browse and therefore discover. Bookshops open up an avenue of discovery which online retailers such as Amazon cannot match; consequently, it has been suggested that consumers do not browse the internet as often as thought. It was discovered that 21% of all book sales were a result of consumers browsing in bookstores.
I think one of the key questions is, is whether consumers will continue to browse in bookshops if they have to pay to browse? (CEO of Harper Collins, Victoria Barnsley, predicted last month that customers will have to pay to browse in bookshops in the future) It was said that 35% of all book purchases are from a book shop, meaning that 65% of people order their books online. Whilst it seems like a small amount, if 21% of that 35% is made up of purchases through browsing then it means that a significant amount could potentially be lost if bookshops do start to charge customers to browse, or the business closes down.
It seems though, that bookshops will not be leaving our high streets without a fight… Also this week the Mail Online reported that mortar-and-bricks retailers will start to sell books with additional chapters and content which will not be made available online. Essentially, bookshops will hold exclusive content in order to draw customers into buying from them as opposed to e-retailers. The idea is only just being introduced with Joanna Harris writing an exclusive additional chapter for her latest novel Peaches For Monsieur Le Curé, which is only available through Waterstones. Ian Rankin is another who is keen to publish exclusive content which will only be available through Waterstones.
With these latest developments in the revolution of the mortar-and-bricks bookseller coupled with the #FutureFoyles project and the introduction of bookselling degrees at the University of Derby, the bookshop of the future will certainly be an intriguing development in the industry. Personally, I cannot wait to see what will become of the beloved bookshop.