Recent news in book retailing has stunned most observers of the publishing world, but Simba Information and the buyers of the Trends in Trade Book Retailing series have been ahead of the curve: this report series, now in its third year, has long predicted the challenges of Borders Group and other retailers and documented the price wars long before the first shot was fired.
Trends in Trade Book Retailing 2011 compiles national data on who is buying books and e-books, what they're buying and where they’re buying them, as well as detailed overviews of the major channels, how their market share is trending, and what outside factors are affecting each. The report provides a “scorecard” for each channel—bookstores, the Internet, book clubs, and “other”—and a demographic overview of the average consumer.
The report exhibits a trend unique to bookstores, which "subsidize" the e-book market by acting as a book showroom for nearly 10% of U.S. adults.
Simba compiled trusted nationally representative data from Experian Simmons for this analysis. The four channels are also ranked by the estimated number of customers, what formats they buy, and how many titles the consumers purchase and how things are trending in each channel now that e-books are part of the equation.
With the book retailing segment as challenged as it is, no publisher, retailer, or industry analyst can afford not to have this vital tool.
E-Book Market Partially "Subsidized" by Physical Bookstores
Stamford, CT - August 31, 2011 - A recent report by media and publishing forecast firm Simba Information found that even though bookstores have lost some of their customer base over the years, the channel feeds into the e-book universe by serving as a 'book showroom' for the roughly 10% of U.S. adults who buy e-books.
"Believing that adults will begin taking to e-books in large numbers because of Borders' liquidation is a dangerous assumption," said Michael Norris, senior analyst of Simba Information's Trade Books Group, commenting on the report. "Since most adults buy books from multiple channels and enjoy using bookstores for browsing, the loss of a 'book showroom' can impact print books and e-books in unexpected ways."
Data from Simba indicates that the more channels a consumer uses, the more likely he/she is to buy—even though bookstores are sometimes cut out of the action. In a Simba survey of over 110 bookstores across the country, 38% indicated that their (former) regular customers who own a Barnes & Noble Nook or an Amazon Kindle 'often or very often' return to browse without buying anything. 43% of the same booksellers also said non-regular customers often or very often come to browse before leaving to buy from another retailer.
"Publishers should be working around the clock to find ways to make chain and independent bookstores stronger, and not for reasons having to do with sentimentality," Norris said. "If the only retailers left selling books are those that don't need to, publishers will lose their power and relevance overnight. I genuinely worry that books may follow the same dreadful path of music, where gadgets like the iPod spring up to make consumption easy, the showrooms for media discovery close, piracy becomes a cultural expectation and the market shrinks by billions as more people buy less."
The report, "Trends in Trade Book Retailing 2011," also shows the interconnected world of retailing with thorough profiles of the bookstore, online and other major retailing channels, outlining key demographic details and trends unique to each, including the gender, age, household income, education level and purchasing habits of the buyers. The significant influence of non-bookstore physical store retailers like Walmart and Target and the influence of e-book sellers like Amazon.com are also covered.