Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Friday, November 29, 2013
It Still Isn't Easy, But Independent Bookstores Are Doing Better
by Wendy Kaufman - npr - November 27, 2013
With another holiday shopping season on the horizon, one group of retailers is doing better than you might expect. Despite intense competition from Amazon and big box retailers, independent bookstores are enjoying a bit of a renaissance. Robert Sindelar, managing partner at Third Place Books in Seattle, says for a couple of decades independent booksellers have been fighting an uphill battle, but now things are finally improving.
"People who value browsing books, who value physical books, who value engaging other people who read, seek places like this out," Sindelar says. "And more and more people are kind of coming out of the woodwork and finding us." The buy-local movement has helped independent bookstores — and they got a boost after Borders declared bankruptcy and closed hundreds of retail outlets. Barnes & Noble has shuttered some stores as well. There are other factors aiding independents, too. Technology has made it easier for them to manage inventories and payrolls cost-effectively. And publishers are now offering indie booksellers like Sindelar more attractive terms than they did in the past. "Some publishers are offering longer terms to pay," Sindelar explains. "Some offer slightly better discounts, so our cost of goods is a little less." There are deals for returnability and cooperative money for advertising. "It does make a difference. Absolutely," Sindelar says. Industry consultant Mike Shatzkin believes publishers will continue to offer concessions because publishers want retail bookstores to survive. They don't want Amazon to be the only game in town.