Over the course of the past year businesses around the world have suffered, business owners cut down expenses and closed shops just to keep their livelihood afloat. One of the most affected industries has been book retailers. Book retailers have been in a steady decline over the past decade due to the increase in sales of e-books, with a 12.6% increase in sales in 2020 as well as due to online retailers such as Amazon Books.
The world has evolved over the years, with new technology and innovations being made in different fields and industries. Like other businesses in the retail industry, the way books are sold has changed too.
- A vintage book store
From physical stores to online websites, from libraries to mediums such as Kindle, the way we buy and read books has changed drastically. As mentioned earlier, book retailers had to close down shops as they could not cover the expenses that came along, such as rent, salaries of staff, electricity etc. This combined with consumers wanting and relying on and wanting to, shop online led to the drastic shift of retailers to book websites and the rise of e-books. Readers found ordering books from the comfort of their homes, with access to a wide variety of genres and collections better, this led to more dependency on these online shops and continued driving traffic away from the already struggling shops.
Another thing to be noted is that the overall demand for books and the number of book lovers dropped in recent years with more people spending time on social media and online gaming than reading. To make matters worse, the 2020 pandemic put the world on lockdown, shops closed, businesses fell in loss, people were stuck inside, economies crashed. In those uncertain times, leisure activities such as reading were heavily affected. Even though physical shops suffered, online businesses thrived. As more people were forced to shop online, e-commerce sites were able to flourish.
E-books also gained popularity, as they were cheaper, more portable, and easier to purchase than hard copy books.
- Kindle by Amazon
The power of social media can never be underestimated, once again the internet users, in this case, ticktokers were able to deliver. BookTok is a term used to describe Tiktoks relating to reading material, recommendations and those that generally focus on books. These short videos and clips were able to garner readers and entertain viewers.
They were able to use nostalgia and the love of bookworms to rekindle the need for hard copy books and the need to visit shops of people around the globe.
The future of Bookstores is still uncertain, as even BookTokers can not drive up demand to the level needed for a store to sustain and stay afloat.
Conclusively, it can be said that while the process and ways books are sold change through the years, with the emergence of online libraries, it is clear that the undying love of book lovers is helping in sustaining bookstores and driving up demand to some extent.