When Fiona Stager and Kevin Guy decided to expand their Brisbane book business, they considered setting up a stand-alone cooking and travel book store.
But when they took a closer look at their sales records at their existing Avid Reader bookstore, they realised there was a much more lucrative market to tap into.
“When I looked at the sales data I knew it had to be children and young adults,” Ms Stager said. “We were crammed and still selling lots of children’s books, so we decided to take the risk at setting up a dedicated store.”
Ever since word slipped out two years ago, at BookExpo America, that Jeff Kinney was considering opening a bookstore in his adopted town of Plainville, Mass., excitement has been building over what the Diary of a Wimpy Kid author would create. After all, he’s had the opportunity to visit hundreds of stores while touring, and he writes for kids.An Unlikely Story, which is slated to open in mid-May, will be a nearly 3,000 sq. ft. environmentally friendly general bookstore/community center in a town with a population of roughly 8,000.
Earlier this week when Kinney gave PW a tour of the space, he talked of the magical elements he’s hoping to bring to the store. Among other things, he’s planning to set up a Quidditch match above the children’s section, with replicas of the brooms used in the Harry Potter films. He also wants to have books appear to dance through the air overhead.
“We’re looking for ways to make this whimsical,” explained Kinney, who is involved in every detail of the bookstore. Right now, though, the air is filled with the earthy scent of tung oil, which was recently applied to the floor on the main level, to protect the reclaimed maple floor. The bookstore and café will be located in this space.
While Kinney confirmed that there will be a small Wimpy Kid section in the store, he said that does not want to “make it a Wimpy Kid store.” Instead, as a nod to young fans, he’s planning to open up his studio, which will be on the third floor. When he’s not in the bookstore studio—Kinney currently works in a house next to his home—children will be able to hold some of the awards he’s received, including his Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards; draw on his tablet; and touch the 300-pound statue of Scrooge McDuck created by his “all-time favorite” artist, Carl Barks.
This Slate piece explores “the shifting sands of physical bookselling, where the biggest losers are not—as was once assumed—the independent booksellers, but rather the large book chains”:
Independent bookstores never had to answer to the dictates of public markets. Many of their proprietors understood, intuitively and from conversations with customers, that a well-curated selection—an inventory of old and new books—was their primary and maybe only competitive advantage. In the words of Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, “The indie bookselling amalgam of knowledge, innovation, passion, and business sophistication has created a unique shopping experience.”
Teicher is hardly a neutral observer, but the revival of independents can’t be statistically denied. Not only have numbers of stores increased, but sales at indies have grown about 8 percent a year over the past three years, which exceeds the growth of book sales in general. One of the strongest categories last year and into this year is hardcover nonfiction, and that has not been the most robust area for Amazon-dominated e-books. Amazon’s sales have been strongest in mass-market fiction. No independent bookstore could thrive on mass-market softcover sales. Instead, they do well with hardcovers, illustrated children’s books, cookbooks, and the like. And while indies cannot compete with Amazon’s inventory, Amazon evidently cannot supplant indies as shopping and social experiences.
Good news for book lovers in Beijing: the city’s first 24-hour bookstore, to be a cultural landmark, has been launched by the Sanlian Bookstore. Owned by the China Publishing Group Corporation, Sanlian is a major bookstore in the country. It has started its trial run, and the news has been warmly received by the public.
Beijing bookworms can now become night owls with the opening of the city’s first 24-hour bookstore.
Click through to watch a TV news report (in English) about this Beijing bookstore….
Closing time for another independent bookshop…
After 66 years in business we are closing our doors for the last time on Friday 14th March this year.
Naturally we are sad because this is the end of two generations of business in Wellington, but we have come to this decision for good and positive reasons and we’d like you to know the story. The main reason for the closure is that my sister Beatrice and I are ready to retire.
I began working at the shop at 17, and 54 years later, I am 71 with some dreams still to realise.
Between now and March 14th, all stock will be half price.
Kennebooks, an independent bookstore in Maine that has been open for just four years is to close…
After more than four years in business, Kennebooks will be closing its doors later this winter.
“I have given the bookstore the best of my ideas, inspiration and time and we still do not sell enough books in three good months to carry us through the nine months of operating in the ‘red,'” said owner Trish Koch. “I have worked without pay and have operated on a rotating staff of three part-time employees and two lovely students for the summer, and there is really nothing left to take out of the budget.”
How will the modern bookstore change when by 2015 the amount of digital books sold will reach 50%? … How will bookstores transition from exclusively selling physical books to actively promoting eBooks?
The one worry many bookstores face is being a showroom for 3rd party eBook companies….
The bookstore of the future must develop their own eBook infrastructure in order to preserve their own identity and maximize profits. It is critically important that major chains develop their own digital bookstore and sell eBooks directly to their shoppers. It is simply not sustainable to encourage all of your patrons to buy the digital editions from Amazon or Apple There is always more money to be made by phasing out the middleman and reaching your audience directly.
In the end, bookstores need to develop their own bookstore and develop a series of apps for readers to use. These need to be loaded on any tablet or e-reader that their store carries. If the hardware vendor does not want to play ball, you ditch them. Bookstores sustain themselves from selling books, magazines and hardware. They need to unshackle themselves from a strict reliance on a 3rd party and bite the bullet and develop their own digital storefront.