Love this piece, and not just because I agree with EVRYTHING written there. No, I like it because it’s the kind of clear-eyed analysis that is sometimes lacking when people write about bookshops and the book industry (I’m a victim of this fault myself).
But mottos are one thing. Common sense also says that no business can suffer declining sales indefinitely without running into problems. Take a look at those like-for-like sales statistics on the high street side since 2005-06. The run has been: minus 7%, minus 6%, minus 3%, minus 6%, minus 4%, minus 6% and, if current trends hold for the rest of the financial year, minus 6%.
A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that, on a same-store basis on the high street, WHS is selling roughly £68 for every £100 of custom seven years ago. Surely that spells trouble one day: running up the down escalator is not easy.
via Can WH Smith defy gravity forever? | Business | The Guardian.
Not a huge surprise but still, interesting …
The Office of Fair Trading has cleared Amazon to take over The Book Depository, ruling the merger would not lead to a lessening of competition within the UK book industry.The OFT decided there was limited pre-merger competition between the two companies and found that competition within Amazon Marketplace would continue to be strong after the takeover. It said The Book Depository only accounted for between 2-4% of the online market for physical books, and that TBD had most of its growth in overseas markets rather than the UK.
via OFT gives go-ahead for Amazon/TBD merger | The Bookseller.
All other things being equal, I can see a global ebook marketplace that some years from now is 90-95% controlled by Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and a local player in each country, with Google getting most of the rest. Google may punch above its weight on the long tail because discovery of the obscure or highly niched content might be their forte; one scholarly publisher told me at Frankfurt that he is already seeing some real growth in his Google sales, which no trade publisher has said in my earshot yet.
via Kobo’s new deals propel them into the top tier of global ebook competitors – The Shatzkin Files.
Excellent post by Thad this, read and think:
As you can see, Apple is missing half of the 10 titles on this week’s ebook bestseller lists (narrowed down to just self-published titles). That has to be troubling to Apple and its publishing partners. Apple and the big trade publishing houses could argue that the sorts of people who buy 99 cent ebooks aren’t iPad/iPhone owners. That would not be a clever argument. I would argue that after launching the iBookstore with great fanfare Apple is acting very much like a company that doesn’t much care about ebooks.
Barnes & Noble faces a different problem. None of the books here sells for over five bucks and yet Amazon manages to discount many of the titles from Barnes & Noble’s list prices, on average over a third off (of course it’s prices are lower still compared with Apple’s).
via Thad McIlroy – Future Of Publishing » Don’t Compare Specs, Compare Content.
UPDATE: According to a tweet sent this afternoon, the copany will retain operational independence from Amazon.
Congrats to the Book Depository team. I guess this is a case of, ‘How do you know you are doing something right? Amazon acquires you!’
It’s hard to know what the play is here. It could be any of:
1) Increasing UK and European exposure
2) Building a better position in Australia
3) Defensive market-share building
Or any number of other things. There must be some worries about competition approval, at least in the UK, with this.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN – News) today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire The Book Depository International. The Book Depository is an online bookseller offering over six million books for delivery worldwide.
“Customers in more than 100 countries enjoy The Book Depository’s vast selection, convenient delivery and free shipping,” said Greg Greeley, Amazon’s Vice President of European Retail. “The Book Depository is very focused on serving its customers around the world, and we look forward to welcoming them to the Amazon family.”
Amazon to Acquire The Book Depository – Yahoo! Finance.