Bookstores unlock niche market

ONLINE shopping and electronic readers are challenging larger bookstores but industry body the Australian Retailers Association claims independent and specialist stores could benefit from the latest trend.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said there would always be a market for difficult-to-find or specialty books in hard copy as electronic book publishing focused on popular fiction produced in high volume.

“The news last week that Australia's largest bookstores, Angus & Robertson and Borders, have been handed to administrators has sparked debate that traditional book retailers are struggling under the rise of online shopping and new electronic books. There's no doubt this is true but there is also an opportunity for traditional bookstores to keep working at driving loyalty, value and unique experiences over online transactions,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Despite the trend for consumers to move away from buying traditional books and instead enjoy the latest popular fiction on their Kindle or e-reader, booklovers who seek out rare or niche books will still prefer to buy from local community booksellers and read the old-fashioned way.”

Mr Zimmerman said that A

“It's not uncommon for smaller retailers to provide a quality product and service that challenges their larger competitors by capturing a large portion of the specialty market,” Mr Zimmermann said.

“A great example of this is the success bakeries have had by producing a wider and fresher range of bread products compared to supermarket giants.”

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