Posts Tagged ‘book retail’

Toronto Store Closing Brings Total to Eight; LA Retailer Bucking The Trend

While Christian stores continue to struggle, the record of store closings in Toronto in just a little over three years shows that the general market is equally hurting.  John Goddard’s article in the Business section of The Toronto Star focused on the closing of one of the five Book City locations, but also contained this sidebar showing the recent casualties within the city limits:

2012 – Books for Business, off Bay St. on Adelaide St. W., in the financial district; The Book Mark, on Bloor St. W. in Etobicoke; [and Book City in Bloor West Village];

2011 – The Flying Dragon, children’s bookstore, Leaside.

2010 – This Ain’t the Rosedale Library.

2009 – Pages Books, Queen St. W.; David Mirvish Books, Markham St.; McNally Robinson Booksellers, Don Mills.

The article went on to describe the Book City closing:

“Physical retail stores for media — books, music and video — are becoming increasingly unviable,” owner Sean Neville said.

Book City’s decision to close one of its five locations coincides with the company’s move to expand its product line at the remaining stores, Donker said.

“We need stores that have enough square footage for us to be able to add something new without hurting our selection of books,” he said. “We’re looking for a few things to take over for the small decline that’s happened because of ebooks, online sales, that type of thing.”

The 1,000 square feet or so at the Bloor West Village location offered too little room to accommodate expanded inventory, which so far includes greeting cards and toys, he said.

But before we become too hasty, there’s this story about an entrepreneur who is swimming against the tide:

In the past few decades, the publishing industry has gone through drastic changes: large chain bookstores have pushed out independent bookstores, and now digital book retailers and ebooks have pushed out the chains.

But Josh Spencer is turning back the clock. A former online book seller, Spencer now owns a 10,000-square-foot used bookstore in downtown Los Angeles, aptly named The Last Bookstore.

On the corner of 5th and Spring streets, The Last Bookstore is a book-lover’s paradise with a large cavernous space, a hushed atmosphere, comfy couches, and, of course, rows and rows of books. Formerly a bank that opened in 1915, the building boasts tall columns and antique furnishings that give the space a nostalgic air, while murals and sculptures – one made completely of books suspended on wires – add a more modern feel. The store also features a section of used records and a small coffee bar.

Spencer, who sold books online for the last 12 years, said he was approached in 2006 about creating a physical bookstore in downtown LA. Three years later, Spencer opened a small store on Main St. and soon had more books than the few shelves would hold. Spencer and his employees found the current space and opened the store in June.

…continue reading this story at World California…

If it’s true that trends move from west to east, The Last Bookstore might not be last after all.

Electronic Books: An Alternative Scenario

Started the week with an early morning unscheduled visit with Bob Woods at Foundation Distributing.  As we discussed the current crisis in publishing an entirely fresh vision of the future unfolded before me…

In this future, electronic readers, currently accounting for up to 15% of some categories grows to 15% across the board by year end, and then inches up to 20% in 2012 and 25% in 2013.

And there it peaks.

And then, in 2014, at the latest, it starts falling.

I say all this based on the way our industry has ‘survived’ (sort of) other technological invasions into our product landscape.  E-cards were to replace standard greeting cards.  Received one lately?  Apparently people prefer licking stamps and envelopes and sending snail mail.  Downloading of virtual CDs was to replace sales of physical music CDs, and while the industry has taken a major hit, CDs do keep selling them and when you factor in the huge growth in the indie market, there are probably more CDs being bought and sold today than SoundScan will ever know. 

Our giftware departments are testimony to the fact that some things can’t be replicated digitally, even as scientists are reverse-engineering all manner of products so that computers, instead of being told to ‘print,’ will be told to ‘render.’  But it will never fully succeed.

I’m already aware of complaints of headaches, of battery-life issues, and of church parishioners — like this one — wishing the pastor would simply close the iPad and speak from printed text. 

So, if you can last that long,  I see the present trend continuing for another 24 months.

And then the pendulum starts to swing back.

65 Years Ago: Post-War Bookstore

This is a picture from the website; the place to go should you wish to time travel to an era when the world was nothing but black-and-white.

This bookstore is from a collection of pictures of Dover Books in New York City.   To see the picture full size, click on the image.  (In original size, notice the religious books above the cards; and does the header say “Easter” cards?)

Here’s another shot of the same store.