Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sounds so easy.

This article (Shelf Awareness) caught my attention. It's about Indigo Books, which is Canada's B & N, only with an even larger share of the market (50%).

First of all, the figure that 40% of the books sales are going to disappear is a firmer figure than I've ever heard before.

Secondly, there is this assumption I'm seeing that bookstores can just add "Other" product to make up for the loss.

Really? "Tableware?" "Tote Bags?"

As someone who has been diversifying my store for the last 20 years, I can assure you it ain't that easy. No product is out there that hasn't been picked up by someone else -- no product immediately sells just because you begin carrying it. Every new product has consequence in the time, energy, space and money you expend.

And most product takes time to develop.

You know, if it was that easy to add income, why wouldn't they have kept the same model and just added the new product -- in bigger stores, maybe? I'll tell you why. Because it wouldn't have worked. It would have either taken away from the product they were carrying or not added enough to pay for the extra space.

These kinds of solutions are more in the way of a Hail Mary pass, I think.

We are going to see all kinds of hybrid stores for awhile. Many of them won't work.

"In the book industry, when you are in a situation where you know that 40% of your business is going to go digital--you need to change," she said. In addition to having a "toehold in the digital books business," Reisman's vision of Indigo as a "cultural department store" means "betting more than ever on other categories. Indigo is stepping up its offerings of tableware, toys and tote bags--

Her goal over the next two or three years is to increase non-book sales from 15% to 40% of the company’s business to replace lost book revenues. "The only way to stay in the book business is to find the ability to marry our book offerings with other products that our customer would value," she said. "I think of that as affordable items with intrinsic value."

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