Bookstore sales in the first half of 2014 are down nearly 8% from a year ago, according to preliminary US Census Bureau figures.
As bookstore numbers continue their gradual decline since the onset of the Great Recession/Borders shuttering, by no coincidence, Amazon grows.
In fact, according to CODEX, Amazon has more than 40% of the US book market right now. It had 13% in 2008. While Amazon tripled its share of a stagnant book market, there was a decrease of 30% of bookstore selling space. Further during the 2008-2012 years, the number of US households reading fiction declined by 4%, according to National Endowment for the Arts.
So how can bookstores reverse course?
First, publishers should put a greater emphasis on buying from a physical store. One way to do this is to seek out more author signings and appearances.
Second, bookstores need to expand their hours and improve customer service.
Third, make printed books different from e-books. Instead of putting add-on features to e-books, such as links, and videos, add something to the printed book. Throw in a bonus chapter or essay. Include a coupon for something. Make the print available before the e-book.
Fourth, bookstores must partner with their community. Invite book groups to come to the store. Have schools do class trips there. Reserve a space for birthday parties – of the young and old.
Fifth, do cross promotions with neighboring stores to get foot traffic to your street or area.
Sixth, make an amazing window display. Think differently – don’t just showcase bestsellers or new books. Think visually and be multimedia-oriented.
Seventh, local stores need to ramp up their social media presence. They can be the authoritative voice on books, literacy, free speech, information, local history, and the imagination.
It’s not easy to get an old industry to modernize but if it’s to survive, it will need to inject some marketing and publicity into its game plan.
BLASTS FROM THE PAST
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014
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