Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Good News for Bookstores

A recent issue of Publishers Weekly in one of their first articles proclaimed, “Bookstores Remain Top Destination for Readers.” That’s good news for bookstores. I frequent bookstores every chance that I get. Like when I was walking around Manhattan last week, I dropped inside a Borders bookstore for a few minutes and looked at the new books.

While I’ve heard some writers tell me they never buy books online and always support their local bookstore.  While such an attitude is admirable, it’s not always realistic—especially with great tools online such as BookFinder4U.com. The consumer wants choice so the more venues open for book sales, the better in my view. As writers, we need to use every one of the available tools.  Here’s some more detail about this recent survey from Jim Milliot’s PW article, “The growing popularity of alternative outlets for books was also evident in the report, which found that 43% of customers bought a book through a department store or discount store and 23% bought a book online. The move to more online book buying is being driven by convenience and cost savings, said Tom McCartin, president of Spier. While readers may be looking for discounts online, affluent customers are more likely to use the Internet to purchase books than lower-income readers. The survey found that 40% of respondents with incomes of more than $100,000 bought a book online, compared to only 13% of buyers with income below $35,000. People with high incomes are also more likely to be heavy readers, with 43% of respondents with incomes over $100,000 reporting that they read 10 books or more annually, compared to only 23% of people earning $35,000 or less.”

While these statistics are interesting, it marks the first survey from the ad firm Spier New York. Note this survey was based on the responses from a limited sample of 813 readers. It is an interesting trend.  Since I had never heard of Spier New York, I googled the name to see what else I could learn. I found this article from 2002 on Publishing Trends.com which has a hefty annual subscription fee. I did enjoy looking at the articles in their archive. This article in particular from September: Satsafabulosity: Titillating Trivia from the Land of Publishing was interesting to me.

Early on in the process of creating books, writers need to consider all of the possibilities—and incorporate them into their book proposals. It’s good news that people continue to buy from bookstores but more than half of the books sold are purchased outside the bookstore according to Brian Jud in Beyond the Bookstore. My encouragement is for you to use all of the variety of options open to you. You never know which one will be the one which will be the hit—especially if you are focused only on one of those possibilities.

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