In an interview with The Bookseller, Sam Husain, the CEO of indie UK bookstore Foyles lamented: “Bookshops are being used as showrooms for people to browse and have a look at what is out there and then they are going to the internet.” Husain blamed publishers for the problem, noting that they give supermarkets and internet retailers more favorable terms than they do bookstores, setting up a situation in which readers browse in book shops, then head online where the book will probably be sold for less.
As a partial fix, he suggested publishers allow stores to sell books on consignment. “Currently booksellers pay for stock and return that which they haven’t sold after a year. Only then they do they get their money back.”
Do you think publishers should do more to support bookstores? Barnes and Noble certainly feels this way, and has even reduced their orders of Simon and Schuster titles because they allegedly feel the publisher is not supporting them enough.
It’s hard to know what is really going on. Publishers blame Amazon for the seismic shift in book buying habits. Bookstores blame Amazon, and in some cases, Publishers. Writers are revolting, ditching their traditional publishers to self-publish and creating platforms to sell their work directly to readers. But at the end of the day, book buying comes down to the reader, no? Publishers, bookstores, Amazon, and writers need to come together (or not) to figure out how and where readers want to buy their books, and why.