Thursday, October 25, 2007

Amazon sales up 33 percent

Looking at The Bookseller just now, I noticed an interesting article by Philip Jones who happens to the editor, entitled International Book Sales up 40 percent at Amazon. Amazon is of course a US company and so this means that the UK site along with Germany, France, China and Japan, is considered to be an international site.

The article states than that sales on each sites grew by 40 percent in the last quarter with operating profit almost doubling in the same period. Turnover on these sites rose by around 33 percent, or one third.

Bearing in mind that 40 percent of books sold on are not available in bricks and mortar stores, either because they are backlist titles or perhaps self published titles that book stores do not stock or are even aware of, this tells me two things.

Firstly that there is considerable money to be made from such titles, that should not be discarded or under estimated. It also though more importantly, tells me that book stores are not stocking what people want. While online shopping, even with search inside and Google Books, does not compare with the experience of actually handling and browsing books in a book store, customers are increasingly drawn to these sites, as they know that the prices are not just more competitive (very often with free shipping), but they can get a much wider range of titles than is available in book stores. Every book in print that is registered with Nielson Bookdata and available through Gardners and Bertrams - the two wholesalers that Amazon obtain their books from (Ingram and Baker and Taylor in the states) is available on amazon, and other such websites like How can the book stores hope to begin competing with this other than on service, and let's face it, in many chain stores, this is non existant ....

Interestingly Philip also states in an earlier article, that a poll at the recent Frankfurt Book Fair showed that almost a quarter of international publishing professionals believe that book stores will become completely obsolete within 50 years, while 11 percent believed that printed books would themselves vanish, in favour of e-book and audio books. I can't see this myself, but I could be wrong.

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