Australians love their books, and their bookshops!

PRESS RELEASE - 3 June 2011
From the Australian Booksellers Association

Despite the closure of many Borders and Angus & Robertson shops, and the heavy discounting in the wake of their impending closures, the book market is down only 2% in 2011. Australians continue to buy their books from the many great bookshops all around the country. 

According to Joel Becker, chief executive of the Australian Booksellers Association said, "In spite of the disruptions of the last few months, bookshops are innovating and building on their existing customer bases. Before the end of the year, we expect most bookshops – independent as well as franchise and group shops – will have the capacity to sell online and to sell E-Books. On August 20, there will be a national Bookshop Day, both thanking customers for their loyal support and promoting the role that bookshops have in the local community and the national culture."

Jon Page, President of the ABA and General Manager of Pages and Pages Booksellers in Mosman, had this to say about the state of the industry: "I believe that more community focused and specialised bookshops will be the future of bricks and mortar bookselling. The independent bookselling scene in Australia is particularly strong with 20% market share compared to the US where it is 9% and the UK where it is around 4%. Booksellers are excited about embracing the digital future of books and hope to be offering eBooks to our customers by the end of the year. We want to give our customers as much choice as possible."

Duncan Johnston, Managing Director of Collins Booksellers and ABA Vice President says, "While the overall downturn in retail, and particularly book retailing, is creating a lot of press lately, there are some exciting opportunities for book retailers to reposition themselves and take advantage of the restructuring that is presently occurring. Business models have to be reviewed and the good operators are doing this and giving their customers retail opportunity across all tiers than ever before. I’m confident that booksellers who continue to place their customers first and build loyalty to their brand will survive. Change has to occur and we have to embrace it and keep putting our customers first."
"Our customers have come out in droves to support us and make sure we are still part of their community", says Fiona Stager, co-owner of Avid Reader Bookshop in Brisbane. "They are now constantly telling us how important their local bookshops are to them. Our book clubs and event programs are exploding with people wanting to talk about books and engage with authors."

Leading independent bookseller and Book Industry Strategy Group member, David Gaunt of Gleebooks said, "Bookshops are, and always have been, about connection; connecting writers with readers, in a way that makes the experience count for more than just a transaction."
Simon Milne, who manages Leading Edge Books, a buying group for over 180 independent bookshops, says that his bookshops are ordering more stock from publishers than last year. "This is a great year for new fiction, both locally and internationally", says Milne, "and the success of books like Chris Womersley’s Bereft shows what happens when booksellers love a book and talk about it to their customers. Independent bookshops are hosting more book clubs and book launches than ever before, as well as embracing Facebook and Twitter".

For further information, or to organise an interview:
Joel Becker 03 9859 7322
Jon Page 02 9969 9736
Duncan Johnston 03 9654 7400
Fiona Stager 07 3846 7422
David Gaunt 02 9660 5144
Simon Milne 02 9497 4022

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