What’s the deal with the independent bookstore industry?
The independent bookstores have been struggling in recent years, but their future is in jeopardy.
Some independent booksellers have struggled in recent times, but the independent bookselling industry is in a precarious position.
The number of independent bookshops has shrunk by about 30 percent over the past five years.
According to a recent study by the National Retail Federation, there were just 12,700 independent book stores in the U.S. in 2015, down from nearly 15,000 in 2015.
In fact, bookstores are in dire straits in 2017, with fewer than 20 percent of American adults reading books in any given month.
Even with the growth in e-books and the proliferation of social media, book sales are falling in the books, magazines and other media.
So what’s going on?
The market is saturated.
And the number of books in the hands of Americans has declined in recent decades.
“The bestseller list is shrinking and that is a major issue for the industry,” said Scott Besser, CEO of the Independent Booksellers Association of America, a trade group that represents more than 300 independent book publishers and authors.
There are so many people now who are looking to get their books out there, but there’s a lot of pressure on publishers to keep up.
The pressures are growing, he said.
If you’re a publisher, the more pressure you put on yourself, the less likely you are to take chances and create something new, Besserr said.
The publishers and their agents are under immense pressure to sell more books.
And that is the real issue, he added.
Some publishers are trying to change the marketplace by offering discounts to books that have been on the market for a long time, said Steve Schulz, co-founder of the independent publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
But they’re also trying to maintain their market share by increasing advertising and promotion, he pointed out.
In the past, booksells focused on getting the word out about new books, he noted.
Now they’re more focused on what people already know about books, such as the bestsellers, and the bestseller lists, Bresser said.