Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Perception Statistics etc

You can read all about it in the Guardian piece - thankfully minus the half page photo (shot from above to hide our many chins) - how a massive hangover became a small bookshop...

My favourite bit is when Adam says "We believe in what we are doing. We think we know what we are doing."

What I wanted to point out were a couple of facts.

1: Online retail sales of books (including Amazon obviously) account for 10.6% of market share - Sales through Independent bookshops are at 15.9% of the market.

Independent bookshops sell more books than Amazon and all the other e-tailers put together.

2: Independent bookshops have increased their share of the market from 15.6% to 15.9% in recent years.

Independent booksellers are increasing their share of the book market.

Do those facts surprise you? I think most people who have a casual interest in these matters (if they care at all) would assume that Amazon sold way more books than independent shops and that independents were slowly dying off. That's certainly what many people assumed when we opened - they came in and told us we would be out of business within a year!

Of course it's all about growth. The money men love to hear about market share doubling. But how far will online sales increase? It's easy to double sales when they start at almost nothing...Not so easy to increase year on year (as our friends at Waterborders etc are aware)

Free from the tyranny of shareholders C & P is doing fine thanks. There's food on the table, new shoes on the horizon and dreams in our heads...that just might, like the shop, become reality one day.


  1. I thought that was a good piece in the Guardian. Certainly gave me a shock when I turned the page to see you two (with all the chins) staring back at me.

    I know I didn't buy books very often (*) but C&P is one of the few things I miss now that I no longer commute.

    * still haven't finished the Thomas Pynchon I bought back in January!

  2. Hi Skuds

    Pynchon is rarely a quick read!