from The Australian
“I think the (global) industry has seen off the threat, to be honest,’’ Ms Drake said. “The growth in e-books is stagnating across the world, particularly in America. A couple of years ago, it was the great threat; it hasn’t really worked out that way.’’
Ms Drake admitted that “we all suffered to a certain degree when Borders and A&R went under’’, as those collapses entrenched the notion that bookstores were doomed.
However, alongside retailers such as Dymocks, Big W — which claims to be the nation’s biggest bookseller — realised kids’ books were key to holding back the digital tide. This is because most parents want to limit the time kids spend in front of screens.
“Parents don’t encourage their kids to read (e-books),’’ said Ms Drake, adding: “We deliberately engineered our range to be more appropriate for children, because we saw that that’s where the growth was going to be.’’
When the influential yet little-known bookseller started at Big W in 2008, children’s titles accounted for about 35 per cent of the discount department store’s book sales; now that is closer to half. Dymocks, meanwhile, has seen a 30 per cent rise in children’s book sales since 2010.
Social media-obsessed teens have also spurned the e-book revolution. Ms Drake said: “Where you’d think teens would be a significant e-reading population, it never went that way. And certainly, with a phenomenon like Twilight or John Green, it was important (for teenagers) to have the artefact (the print book), and to be seen with the artefact.’’