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How Can Bookstores Thrive In A Digital Age?

Posted by Tradesquare on Oct 15, 2020 7:00:00 AM

Within the past decade, we have seen technological innovations and the internet dominate every industry we know of. With the emergence of digital media, access to information has never been easier and faster. There’s just so much variety people can explore with just a smartphone or tablet in hand compared to the traditional use of print books in general. The world is changing fast as we know it, and some people can’t help but wonder if there is still any future to print books or bookstores.  

Which begs the question: Can books continue to thrive and keep up with the times? 


Are Print Books Slowly Dying?

With the steady rise of the digital age, you’d somehow expect print to swivel down the market drain. From Blogs to magazines and news journals that are all accessible within a few clicks away, the internet provides a bigger audience and an ample amount of marketability for every industry. Has Print become a lost cause? Is probably what you might be thinking right now, but in all actuality, print is barely even close to the thresholds of dying or slowing down.  In fact, they are still increasingly marketable and are here to stay. The irony is print book sales have flourished in the past years due to its online marketability.


Will Books Survive the Digital Age?

While digital technology did have a significant impact on how the book retailing industry runs its business, books still continue to stand as invaluable to any avid reader out there. In fact, the internet has brought great leverage for books to thrive and remain relevant. And that is the free range of a wider market. 

Social Media sites all serve as a way for these publishers, authors, and even retailers to market their books effectively. And through this digital interaction, they become fully aware of what their consumers want, and all of that will reflect on the books that they are making. Ongoing trends such as #Bookstagram gave traditional print books a newfound perceived value. But does that mean that indie bookstores will get the short end of the stick in terms of profitability? Not likely. 


Are Bookstores Still Profitable? How Indie Bookshops are Fighting Back


How are bookshops holding up to tough competition such as billion-dollar giant Amazon? If we look at the Amazon vs. Local Bookstores from a general perspective, you’d think that indie bookstores won’t even come close to the massive money Amazon generates per quarter. But if you choose to look at a different angle, you’ll see how there’s not much competition, to begin with. 

Amazon might've had a good run with selling e-books, but after a couple of years down the line, their e-book sales plateaued. It might be surprising to some since books are what catapulted the company to its success in the first place. However, considering where Amazon is standing right now in the retail industry, Books have just become one of the many business avenues they have. 

And this is where Indie Bookstores are different. They provide a sense of community with its consumers, and their overall stance is solely to give their customers a great experience. Potts Point Bookshop that is located in Sydney is one of the best indie bookstores in Australia, all known for its amazing customer service. Its owner Ann Low even pointed out how their store aims to be able to connect the right book with the right person. And people, in general, like to be a part of something, such as providing a place where people can get together and share common interests through talks and book launches. There are also places like Gertrude & Alice Bookstore and Café which delivers a nice and comfortable atmosphere for patrons to enjoy a cup of coffee with or if you are up for a late-night stop, there’s also The Paperback Bookshop in Melbourne that’s open till 11 pm!

The thing is, each indie bookstore delivers a different experience for everyone. That's what makes it unique. Experience and fellowship is not something e-books can even begin to measure up to.


The Bottom Line: Why Books Will Never Die

It’s similar to why do people still go to concerts when they can listen to their music on Spotify? It's the experience it provides. Anybody can attest to sharing the same sentiments of the feelings of having a book gives you. From the texture of its cover, the scent that wafts through each page with each turn, and the exhilarating element of closeness you feel as you skim and explore its entirety. Books are a physical presence that retains memory. It's something you can easily pick out from your shelf that takes you back to the time when you purchased it, when you first read it, and how exactly it made you feel while reading it. It's the personal attachment you get with books that make it indispensable. 

It’s safe to say that the traditional book industry will never die. And if you came to ask for the future of bookstores, then it will only continue to thrive in these modern times. 

Topics: books, bookstores, e-books, print, digital

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