Buying books in person is a delicious experience but for convenience and choice, go online, says Alison Walsh writing in The Irish Independent
Sunday July 05 2009
I am unreasonably old-fashioned about online purchasing. While I might not quite take the bus to Ryanair head office to buy plane tickets, I regard the business of buying on the internet with suspicion, particularly when buying books. After all, why would I want to exchange the feel, touch and lovely papery smell of books, the chat with my local bookseller and the exchange of ideas on what we've been reading for an impersonal click of my mouse on one of the growing number of online bookselling websites?
And yet, a survey conducted by Frankfurt Book Fair in 2008 revealed that online bookselling was "the most important development in bookselling in the past 60 years", and books outsell every other product sold online, according to a 2008 Neilsen survey.
Perhaps I've been missing something. Is online bookselling the way of the future, or will we traditionalists, with our love of dusty bookshops and the pleasures of the browse, have the last laugh?
Brona Looby, marketing manager at Eason, is thrilled that online book sales have been an "area of phenomenal growth, particularly this year". She estimates the surge in growth at "Well over 100 per cent -- it's an area that's growing faster in Ireland all the time as more and more people become aware".
Indeed, Eason is so excited by the surge in its online business it is planning to capitalise on it with "a major [online] marketing campaign for the second half of this year".