Posts Tagged ‘independent bookshops’

Kate Mosse: Independent bookshops are an important part of the community

July 5, 2013

Hive offers independent bookshops a raw deal

October 21, 2011

Heard of Hive, an independent on-line seller of books for independent bookshops?

Neither had I until I heard of them on You and Yours this lunchtime.

Apparently you buy on-line, get a book delivered to your home (for a fee) or pick it up at your local bookshop.

What is in it for your local bookshop?

As Simply Books said on You and Yours, not a lot, they get a small cut of the discounted price.

How are people to know of this service?

I guess through a notice in their local independent bookshop. But this would be like putting up a sign saying: Why buy from us full price when you can buy cheaper on-line?

If people are going to buy on-line, why buy from Hive (who they have never heard of and probably will never hear of) when they can and more likely will go direct to Amazon?

All Hive are doing is encouraging people to buy on-line, to get in the habit of buying on-line, not in their local bookshop.

The latest cookbook from Jamie Oliver was given as an example. This has an artificial cover price of £30 which no one bar a fool is going to pay.

– Waterstone’s £15
– WH Smith £15
– Sainsbury’s £9-99
– Hive £17-50 (plus shipping)
– Amazon £14 (free shipping)

All prices are walk in off the street prices bar Hive and Amazon.

Why would anyone buy Jamie’s Great Britain from Hive when they can get a better deal elsewhere?

The problem is the publishers offering heavily discounted prices to eveyone bar independent bookshops, but it does not have to be.

Aleph is currently on offer from independent bookshops at £10, ie one third off cover price. This is better than Waterstone’s who were offering £3 off and is now full price.

– Hive £9-79 (plus delivery)
– Amazon £7-50 (free delivery)

On their home page, Hive claim a recent review of Aleph. No, they simply regurgitate the blurb from HarperCollinsUK. That is not a review.

Independents are also offering the Paulo Coelho backlist at buy two get one free.

That this offer is available at all, is due to efforts by Paulo Coelho, myself and others, not due to a push from the independents.

Good news Paulo Coelho fans in independent bookshops

Hive is supposed to let you easily and quickly find your local independent bookstore, or so they claimed on You and Yours. If so, I do not know how. Maybe it is on their website, but if so not obvious as I did not see it, and I was looking.

There is an image where it asks click here to select your favourite bookshop. But when I did, it took me to a page where I was asked to sign in to check the status of my order!

The website is awful, slow, overbloated and image intense.

All Hive is doing is extracting the last drop of blood from failing bookstores who are so desperate they will clutch at straws.

Hive the online bookstore
Indies could earn 30% from books sold via Gardners’ Hive
Tangent One launches Hive – an online bookstore that supports the high street
Gardners Hive responds to feedback with indie offer
What’s gone wrong with our bookshops?
A quarter of independent bookshops lost in last five years

Good news Paulo Coelho fans in independent bookshops

October 15, 2011

Aleph is currently on offer in independent bookshops in England at £5 off the cover price.

The entire Paulo Coelho back list is on offer at three for two.

Now is the time to support your independent bookshop, to get in those much desirable Christmas presents.

If your local bookshop does not have a Paulo Coelho display, has not got these books on offer, please ask them why not.

We have lost a quarter of our independent bookshops in the last year. We will lose the rest unless they have our support.

HarperCollinsUK have a lot of explaining to do. Why is it only this week they have told independent bookshops of the release of Aleph when it was released on 1 September 2011?

What’s gone wrong with our bookshops?
A quarter of independent bookshops lost in last five years

What’s gone wrong with our bookshops?

October 8, 2011

It used to be a pleasure walking into a bookshop. I would be spoilt for choice. The number of books in my house is testimony to that.

Sadly not anymore. I walk into a bookshop and walk out depressed.

In the last five years we have lost a quarter of our independent bookshops.

A quarter of independent bookshops lost in last five years

They are subject to unfair competition when publishers offer their rivals massive discounts which are not available to them.

Jamie’s Great Britain, cover price £30, is on offer at Sainsbury’s at £9.99. A price that even Waterstone’s cannot match, where it is on offer at half price, ie £15.

But that is not the only problem. It is as though they have given up. Maybe they have.

A couple of weeks ago I visited One Tree Books in Petersfield, Independent Bookshop of the Year 2010, official bookseller Guildford Book Festival 2011. I was singularly unimpressed. I asked for Aleph by Paulo Coelho. They had not a clue what I was talking about. I had to spell it twice in order that they could look it up.

Afternoon in Petersfield
A day in the life of an independent bookshop

Yesterday I visited The Haslemere Book Shop, an independent bookshop in Haslemere. It seems all the shops in Haslemere close at 5 o’clock, I got there just gone five. As if on cue, it chucked it down with rain. Sheltering in the rain I noticed the window display was very drab and uninspiring. Looking in through the window, the shop was closed, it looked equally drab and uninspiring inside.

The Haslemere Book Shop, Surrey

A helpful lady came out and asked could she help, that the shop was open in the morning. I asked for Aleph. She had not a clue what I was talking about. Aleph by Paulo Coelho. She asked that I spell it, twice. A-l-e-p-h, same as first character of Hebrew Alphabet. She popped back in the shop and asked. No, they did not have.

As she was helpful, I wrote out for her details of the book and source of further information. I explained to her that Aleph was a worldwide bestseller, that Paulo Coelho was a well known writer, that Aleph was worth reading. I suggested she contact HarperCollinsUK for promotional material and that she had Aleph on display in the window.

With Aleph the fault lies with HarperCollinsUK, they have failed to alert bookshops. But, on the other hand, whatever the failings of HarperCollinsUK, I do expect bookshops to know about books. I expect them to know of international bestsellers, I expect them to know when a writer like Paulo Coelho has a new book out.

HarperCollinsUK you should be embarrassed!
Paulo Coelho in Waterstone’s and the author the publisher forgot

Aleph was published in UK 1 September 2011. In every country bar UK, it has shot to No1 within days of publication. What does this say about UK?

Have they given up? That at least is the impression I am being given. They have probabably looked at the books, seen the end is nigh, that there is little can be done and are now waiting for the axe to fall.

A quarter of independent bookshops lost in last five years

October 4, 2011

Shocking figures, we have lost a quarter of our independent bookshops in the last five years.

The last of Britain’s independent bookshops
Bookshops face battle for survival
Decline in High Street bookshops continues in 2011

Several factors to blame: Waterstone’s bookshop chain, supermarkets, on-line retailers, e-books.

But the main factor is massive discounting with which small bookshops cannot compete.

Jamie Oliver’s latest cookbook Jamie’s Great Britain is on sale in Sainsbury’s at £9-99, cover price £30. This is less than the trade price. Even a bookshop chain like Waterstone’s cannot match this price where it is on sale at half price, ie £15.

It was a sick joke to give Sainsbury’s an award as bookshop chain of the year. It is a supermarket that sells books.

Sainsbury’s bookshop chain of the year

Jamie Oliver has done much to raise food awareness. As a writer he ought now to be out there raising awareness of the plight of small bookshops before there are none left.

When the Travel Bookshop, star of the film Notting Hill, is faced with having to close, then we know independent bookshops are in trouble.

Travel Bookshop to close

The Travel Bookshop is one of many.

Christopher Robin’s Dartmouth bookshop to close
In pictures: Sandwich’s independent bookshop to close

Coupled with the closure of many libraries and limited hours, we will see a growing rise in illiteracy.