Archive for the ‘UK publishers’ category

Help Save Independent Bookshops

September 4th, 2011

There’s plenty of bookshops that have had to close down – there always have been. But, in the past, the reasons were retirement or increases in rent and rates. Nowadays there are three extra death blows to bookshops: Ereaders, supermarkets and Amazon . So devastating is the combination of these pressures that independent bookshops have ben forced to close but even colossal bookshop chains like Borders have collapsed and disappeared.
In France the government lauds independents:
their minister for culture is legislating for booksellers’ social charges to be cut and for a state mediator to be appointed to help them cope with digitisation.
You can help save independent bookshops in the UK by asking for the debate to take place in our country: do we want to save independent bookshops and are we prepared to legislate to support their survival?
We can lobby groups like 38 degrees asking them to push the survival of independent bookshops higher up the agenda.
Save independent bookshops and legislate to support their survival.
Bookshops are a small but significant plank of cultural life in UK. Ereaders, internet and supermarkets are forcing good independent bookshops out of business. Unless the government rules a cut in charges for bookshops, our country can look forward to a future without any bookshops left.


Book Reader vs. Book Owner?

June 11th, 2011

John Makinson, CEO of Penguin Group, in a Wall Street Journal q&a recently stated:

“There is a growing distinction between the book reader and the book owner. The book reader just wants the experience of reading the book, and that person is a natural digital consumer: instead of a disposable mass market book, they buy a digital book.

The book owner wants to give, share and shelve books. They love the experience.

As we [Penguin Books] add value to the physical product, particularly the trade paperback and hardcover, the consumer will pay a little more for the better experience.”

So Penguin expects there to be a clear & growing division between ‘readers’ and ‘owners’ of books.  I think this distinction is somewhat artificial, but it does help justify their policy to enhance books & increase prices: books as collectables.


Bookshops, according to Penguin’s CEO’s suggestions, would seem to be in jeopardy unless they morph into heritage- type gift shops. Bookshop customers are expected to decline in numbers, so either they would need to be prepared to spend more or books would need to be more profitable to the bookshops.

These developments may not sit entirely comfortably with all booksellers- some may hesitate to pursue the path of purely objectifying more expensive books; most bookshops are likely to pursue a canny compromise: a  watchful strategy that will include stocking paperback books as basic entertainment & enlightenment, and also hardback books as valued possessions. Some independents will also encourage the e-buying public to use their bookshop websites [such as this one] to download digital content.