Waterstones, even more Fopp & independent bookstores

Eoin Purcell

Interesting Perspective

To be had today in Publishing News which carries an interview with Martin Lee on the idea of Waterstone’s as a boutique offering:

I think the future is boutique. There is scope for a niche chain that has attitude, edge and point of view. I think in many ways the demise of Fopp proves my point. Fopp was that kind of chain but became too big.

Of course the inevitable villains have been highlighted as being behind the demise of chains:

the shift in the market brought about by the Net and the supermarkets means there is no longer a place for chains of Waterstone’s size.

Who has the Net not hurt? Supermarkets (it seems to me) for one and consumers for another. There must be a way for a chain the size of Waterstone’s to compete against a supermarket. Maybe boutique is the answer. I have to say a boutique history store would appeal to me and about six people I know but it sure as hell won’t keep a business running!

Seem to be having good and bad news> From Publishing News again:

According to the BA, the number of independents has fallen from 1562 in 2005 and 1483 in 2006, to today’s figure of 1422. Yet figures from Book Marketing Limited show that, since 2003, sales through independents have grown by 2% in volume and 10% in value. Observers believe those less efficient independents that were perhaps protected by the NBA have now fallen by the wayside, leaving the well-run businesses to carve out a niche.

I have to say I think a well run independent bookshop has a much better chance in teh current market than does a chain store, but what do I know.

Book newsed up