Sunday, 18 November 2007

Confused ramblings from the secondhand book trade


Having been commenting on various blogs about retailing Westwood Cross and the problems that this poses for all the Thanet towns, with other retailers saying how bad the situation is.

Saturday’s sales in the bookshop were more than 50% up on both those of 2005 and 2006 looking at the sales analysis this was mostly ordinary secondhand books, I have to say I am totally miffed.

Now things are pretty bad in the secondhand book trade at the moment my brother has just closed his shop in St Albans that was established 45 years ago blaming the combined effects of out of town shopping and the internet.
The demise of the secondhand bookshops is particularly bad at this time because of the affect on the environment at the moment everywhere I go they seem to be closed or closing.

3 comments:

  1. Glad to hear of the boost in sales; sad to hear of another bookshop closing. And although the Internet does change things for everyone, especially specialist retailers, it also enables 24 hour trading and a wider audience reach for the lucky few who have a searchable niche, and who get the Internet thing right - Abebooks, eBay, your own web site, Amazon and the rest (is it a secret what percentage of your business you do online Michael?). But that doesn't make it much easier, I know, it just adds an option or two...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Zumi the whole internet book trading business is fairly complicated, internet sales represent about 20% of the business’s overall sales and seem to approximately replace the fall in shop sales that the internet caused.

    However the cost of selling a book on the internet is much higher than selling via the shop, not only do the internet book databases that we sell on (Amazon etc.) take about 20% commission but the whole process is far more labour intensive.

    You also have to appreciate that although the internet caused a fall in shop sales shop expenses remain pretty much the same, effectively meaning that the databases cut comes out of profit rather than turnover.

    All of this is fairly difficult to assess accurately as the falling footfall in King Street means that my sales have been declining since the mid 1990s and internet databases charges have risen from about 10% when we started selling on it in 1998 to the present 20%.

    With the problems for me and all the other booksellers I know being that the light at the end of the tunnel is most defiantly a train coming the other way, I can only say that why our shop sales are increasing substantially after so many years is a total mystery to me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Maybe it's the Millionaires' Playground effect?

    ReplyDelete

Please note comments that may be libellous, comments that may be construed as offensive, anonymous derogatory comments about real people, comments baiting internet trolls, comments saying that an anonymous comment was made by a named real person, boring comments and spam comments, comments in CAPs will be deleted. Playground stuff like calling real people by their time stamp or surname alone, referring to groups as gangs, old duffers and so on will result in deletion. Comment that may be construed as offensive to minority groups is not allowed here either, so think before you write it, remember that the internet is a public place, that it is very difficult to be truly anonymous and that everyone who uses it leaves a trail of some sort. Also note the facility to leave anonymous comment will be turned of during periods when I am unable to monitor comment, this will not affect people commenting who are signed on to their blogger accounts. When things are particularly difficult on the commercial spam front I may turn comment moderation on for periods.

If you feel that someone has left a comment that is offensive and directed at you personally please email me (link on the sidebar) asking to have it removed, you will need to tell which post and the date and timestamp of the offending comment. Please do not reply to the offending comment as I will assume you continuing the dialogue as meaning that you want the comments left there.