Readersforum's Blog

September 16, 2012

High street bookshops must offer e-books, industry chief warns

All bookshops must start selling electronic ‘e-books’ by the autumn if they are to ensure their long-term survival, a leading trade body has warned.

By James Hall

Tim Godfray, the chief executive of The Booksellers Association (BA), said that high street bookshops risk being “marginalised” by shoppers if they do not start selling downloadable books as well as physical books.

He said that the massive popularity of e-reading devices such as the Kindle has already turned shops into “showrooms”, where people browse the shelves before going home to buy a book off the internet.

Writing in The Bookseller magazine, Mr Godfray said he is “deeply concerned” that customers will simply stop using bookshops if they are not at least given the option to buy e-books in them.

Large chains such as Waterstone’s have already started to sell e-books. In the spring the chain announced a tie-up with Kindle-owner Amazon to allow customers to buy e-books from special wireless internet areas in its shops.

Mr Godfray said that independent bookshops must follow the lead of chains like Waterstone’s.

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November 11, 2011

BA: ‘end charity bookshop concessions’

Tim Godfray

11.11.11 | Charlotte Williams

The Booksellers Association is calling for the end of tax and business rate concessions for charity bookshops, saying that they represent “unfair competition” to high street booksellers. The call comes amid claims publishers are being approached directly by charity shops for stock.

A spokesperson for the Charity Retail Association said 261 specialist charity bookshops were currently open in the UK and Ireland, and that an estimated 8,000 of the 9,450 charity shops in the UK sell books in some capacity.

Leading charity book retailer Oxfam made close to £20m profit in 2010 from its books sales. With over 130 second-hand specialist second-hand bookshops in the UK, it sells in the region of 12 million books a year, including book sales in its non-book second-hand outlets. Most of the 700+ Oxfam shops sell books.

BA chief executive Tim Godfray said it was unfair that high street booksellers should face additional competition, especially during such difficult economic times.

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July 8, 2011

BA and PA set to oppose Amazon-Book Depository merger

| Lisa Campbell

The Booksellers Association has announced it will formally oppose the merger of Amazon and The Book Depository, with the BA saying that Amazon already had a “de facto monopoly”. Meanwhile, the PA is actively considering opposing the deal.  The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is investigating the acquisition, which is likely to be the largest the book industry has seen since the government body probed Waterstone’s takeover of Ottakar’s in 2006.

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