Saturday, November 17, 2007

There May Be Trouble Ahead No.3

The Waterstone's branch on the Old Brompton Road, which was their first ever shop, which opened in 1982 will close on Christmas Eve after the company decided not to extend the lease. Their MD said yesterday "From that one store we have grown Waterstone's into a 320-plus store company with over 4,500 employees and shops all over the country and further afield." Waterstone's has been implementing plans to cut 10% of its floor space over three years. I think that this will accelerate after this Christmas, which may well prove a watershed for book retailing. There's news that Sainsbury’s are selling more books than ever and planning to do more. Waterstones is part of the HMV group and it's well known that the CD/record stores are also struggling. The group recently bought some of the FOPP stores from the receiver and my guess is and has been for a while, that we will see an expansion of that brand at the cost of the separate book and music stores.


jmb said...

This is a sad state of affairs. I guess that the online book business is doing them in. I buy lots online because even if the bookseller can order a title you have to wait weeks for it to come in whereas the online seller delivers it withing the week.
That said I still buy lots in the physical bookstores too.

jams o donnell said...

I daresay the number of book and music stores will fall further becasue of a squeeze from the supermarkets and from the likes of Amazon.

There's nothing like visiting a real book or music shop. I still buy quite a lot books and CDs from shops but I buy a lot more from Amazon. I know Amazon has a "long tail" and can deliver what I want, usually at a reasonable price, in a few days.

Richard Havers said...

Jams, that's exactly what i do and I suspect many, many others do too, which is why it's all going to get harder and harder for book sellers and publishers. They need to face up to the future with a whole lot more imagination if they are not to fail.

jams o donnell said...

Here's the thing: If I want, say, the new Kaiser Chiefs CD or the latest Terry Pratchett, all I need to do is head down the the HMV and Waterstones and after handing over money I have them in my grubby little paws.

If I want, say, a copy of The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin by Vladimir Voinovich or Robyn Hitchcock's I Wanna Go Backwards CD box set, neither HMV nor Waterstones will stock. They may be able to order but Amazon is quicker and cheaper. No contest, sadly

Richard Havers said...

That's why the FOPP model is the future