Online book sales replacing physical store sales?
The old order changeth yielding place to new Alfred Tennyson
The dilemma for any writer and author.
Which will be the best platform to sell his books on?
Online store or physical store?
What is trending today and what is going to be the trend in the future?
Where is the reader going to buy a book?
These answers also decide the success of an authors book. As books should be available where the reader is going to shop from.
We delved a little into this topic of online book sales and came up with some surprising facts.
What seemed to be the trend for the retail sector over the last year, has speeded up with the pandemic 2020. Particularly for book retail stores. Pandemic casualty – another book store Full Circle, bites the dust.
In times gone, books were expensive to print. Publishers, therefore, published hardcover books before printing paperbacks, to test the market. Is that what is happening with online portals too? Are they merely being used to test the water before a big launch? Is this a more permanent book sales strategy?
In big cities, online book sales are now the trend. Products are being launched exclusively on online stores, from phones to books! Releasing and reaching the reader from online stores has become far quicker and more comfortable for a seller and the author. He now no longer needs to rely on the complex and unorganised distribution sector to reach his books to the reader. He gets profits from each book sold right in his account in a matter of weeks and not months or even years.
Just before the pandemic, book stores were rearing their head with Amazon looking to open book stores and as per a report by Nielsen. The situation is now altered. Book stores too are increasingly becoming aware that there are huge fixed costs, such as rentals for the book store. This can be bypassed with an eStore. The pandemic has added another reason, with social distancing and the well-read consumers’ reluctance to step outside and browse, for fear of the virus, is causing some dismay to book store owners.
The online love story for the book industry started with Chetan Bhagat’s book Half Girl Friend. President Pranab Mukherjee’s book, The Dramatic Decade, the Indira Gandhi years, tied up with an online company for exclusive distribution. This is a pointer to the growing reach and popularity of online sales portals. A trend already favoured by the self-publishing industry for a variety of reasons. Quick distribution, limited printing required, computerization and ease of use.
Amazon got its first toe hold in the US through books, one of the most important portals for book sales in India, other is Flipkart. Where Flipkart is popular in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, Amazon is most prevalent in metros and tier 1 cities.
As we stand today and for the coming year it is most likely that online books sale will outstrip those from a physical book store. Physical stores are showing the stress of reduced sale of books, especially in tier 1 and metro cities.
Swords are being drawn, and a shake-up of the book distribution scenario is bound to happen.
To read more blogs on book sales