Friday, December 19, 2014

Dropping Amazon and returning to indpendent bookshops is the trend....

Here a serious one for you. (I know and it's nearly Christmas as well!) I recently sent a letter to the online book trade newsletter, Sheppards, which they published in full. Here it is below:

Dear Sir
It's been a while since I've felt moved to write in but I was particularly struck by many snippets in this week's newsletter.
  Laura Freeman's boycotting of Amazon is better late than never. In my view the problem is not that people don't want to save local bookshops but instead it's that feeling of it being only little old them and what difference can they possibly make by themselves?!
  A bit like not bothering to cast your vote in the general election and then wondering why the same party gets in again! As Laura rightly points out her vote does matter and by refusing to buy from Amazon she is hopefully at the forefront of a new trend. Certainly many customers in my shop, Mr. Books in Tonbridge, make very bad noises about the dreaded Amazon; that said I get just as many saying, when I offer to order in a new title which isn't on the shelf, things like "Oh don't worry I'll get it on Amazon."
  Buying online has become a habit. It's convenient, quick and, above all cheap. In the vast majority of cases it's unfortunately true that new books can be bought cheaper retail on Amazon than my wholesale price through Gardners Books. Just think about that for a second? How did it get to that stage? What chance have we independents got against such opposition?
  Reading the article about the revived Waterstones (shock, horror without the apostrophe) I was quite surprised by James Daunt's strategy of no discounting at all in his shops. Maybe he can get away with that in swanky central London but most customers would appreciate some level of discount. That's why at Mr. Books I've been recently trialing a 20% off new book orders offer. I have to be a little careful, due to varying discounts on some books, so advertise the offer as on 'most' books but this seems to be working. Certainly my Christmas orders are massively up on last years. That said I do of course need to sell twice as many to make the same profit. I'm pretty convinced by the evidence of the last month or so that customers really appreciate the gesture and, for those disgruntled with Amazon, it gives them an added reason to drift back to buying their books in a proper bookshop.
  Like Waterstones Mr. Books also sells greetings cards and board games, like Scrabble and Boggle although, unlike Mr Daunt, I'll be stopping short of selling Kindles for a good while yet! Mark Richardson, Mr. Books Bookshop, Tonbridge, Kent.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ho, ho ho....

Merry Christmas to all readers of Tonbridge Blog. Please feel free to post your Christmas comments and messages below or indeed anything else that moves you to write. I'll be back soon. In the meantime I've got books and presents to deliver!...