Borders Closes Stores in 200-Plus Cities: What Lies on the Retail Horizon?
"In this supply vacuum, the demand is not going away, but it won't be there forever before people migrate in frustration [with the disappearance of local options] to [online options]," permanently shifting their purchasing habits, he says. He looks to 2012 as a critical year to secure financing and launch the NBDB.
Other reasons may exist for booksellers' urgency. The avid reader population, which Verso defines as buyers of 10 or more books a year, is getting older: People 45 years of age and older account for 70 percent of all consumer book purchases. "That percentage is likely to increase as boomers downshift into retirement or flex work, and have more time for reading and discretionary income. All that is a propellent for demographically based phenomena," McKeown reports.
Of course, the future of book retailing will not hinge on any one factor, whether economic, technologic or demographic. All parties seem to agree there is room for a variety of players in a multiplatform future. "People assume the book-buying experience has become a commodity experience and is [only] about price," Mayersohn says. "But I think people appreciate the experience of going in a brick-and-mortar store … [where] we provide a curated selection of books." Other consumers appreciate the convenience of an online order or instant download, or a used bookstore's thrill of the hunt.
As McKeown says, "It's all about gauging and serving a market." BB