Monday, 13 December 2010
Brick and mortar Bookshops being hit hard - are eBooks really to blame?
Book sales at traditional shops have been in decline for years and yet eBooks are still only at the bottom rung of the ladder regarding sales, though they are climbing fast. The bigger supermarkets have for some years been selling books and at a much cheaper price that conventional bookshops, even selling the books at a loss, for years now and online giants such as Amazon have much more to do with the fall of the conventional bookshop than the new trend for electronic books.
Booksellers are calling the shift a "Gutenberg moment" for the entire publishing industry, likening it to Johannes Gutenberg's game-changing invention of movable type almost 600 years ago.
American bookshops are feeling the strain harder than most - The number of independent bookstores has been declining for some time, from about 6,000 in the early 1990s to about 2,200 today, according to the American Booksellers Association. Sales of all books are declining, down almost 8 percent in September, which followed a 6.5 percent drop in August. And last July Amazon announced they’d sold 180 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books.
Still eBooks can't be blamed for everything and there is a plus to the eBook revolution in that the genre books that many bookshops don't even bother to stock will be available easily via online books stores. In many ways the book industry have been asking for this - there was a time when all tastes were catered for by bookshops but these days are sadly gone and the mid list paperbacks were driven out of circulation by publishers and shops insisting they they knew what we wanted to read and that all books should be of a uniform size and length.
RIP the printed book, long live the eBook.