Thursday, October 11, 2007

The End of the Independents?

Is the end of the independent bookshop in sight? Will the book, in its physical paper manifestation, be around much longer?

In the Guardian, Michelle Pauli reports from the Frankfurt Book Fair that according to a poll of 1,324 top industry professionals the book will still be around in 50 years time, the independent bookseller may not be:
Almost a quarter of the industry professionals who took part in the survey predicted that the high street bookseller would no longer exist in 2057, while only 11% thought that the printed book would be obsolete. However, nearly as many - 10.5% - also thought that the electronic reader would be superseded. The respondents, of whom nearly half were at senior director level or above, were not asked to look into their crystal balls to predict what might replace the book and e-reader, but 44% identified the use of e-books as a key area of growth for the industry. In an increasingly globalised world, 27% saw books in translation as a growth area, and nearly a third saw China as the future dominating market in the publishing industry.
Pauli notes that the biggest area of growth at the fair is in digital products, and that there are a number of sessions aimed at helping publishers learn how to tackle the developments in e-publishing. She quotes Frankfurt Book Fair director Juergen Boos as saying that the fair is now a "contents fair" and the book is just one transmitter of content.


marineko said...

I read in Bookseller a few months back that independents are still doing okay, but that chain bookstores are in trouble now that hypermarkets are giving better discounts.

bibliobibuli said...

yes, i read that too! and also an article in "time out" about london's independent bookshops finding their niche. i really don't know and hope that the small bookshops continue to hang in there, because they make book buying an altogether nicer experience, and because the owners care a lot more about the stock they carry.

KittyCat said...

Hi Sharon - I'm much encouraged by your comment as I've been thinking long and hard about opening a small business to cater to a niche market of parents.

I'm coming up with a small selection now, which is tough given the array of choices available and my limited budget :-)

I aim to offer attractive, engaging, varied and different (not forgetting affordable) books. However, the nay-sayers have been nagging that books are expensive, how will I survive etc

What do you think? I've just posted a sample of my toddler's collection. If you have a chance, I'd welcome your feedback. Thanks!

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