Bookstores are often a place for people to discover their next read. Unfortunately, a large demographic of younger people aren’t buying their books from retail, but instead buying them online. A recent survey by the UK Booksellers Association polled 2,000 young people and 63.5% admitted to the practice. Older readers tend to do this as well, with 51.7% over the age of 55.
Many bookstores in the UK and US find themselves a victim of people who discover books in their store and buy the books online. I remember during the holidays in 2011, Amazon was encouraging people to scan books with their app and instantly buy the digital versions.
Meryl Hall of the Booksellers Association said, “Showrooming is just one of a variety of pressures bookshops are facing, with other issues such as rising rents, high business rates, lack of town center parking and the unfair tax arrangements of multinationals also playing a role.”
It is hard to know if this survey is indicative to a changing mentality in readers. You have to figure that many people are both buying the ebook and tangible book from their local bookstore. Sales, deals, and impulses may influence people’s decisions to make the purchase in the retail environment and also may also buy the digital version. If you want to weigh in on the matter, please comment below.