Bookstores Can Survive With Hybrid Model

While online stores and eBooks are making things more difficult for physical bookstores, it seems that there may still be a future for independent bookstores in the right location with the right approach. Foyles bookshop in London is seeing growth these days from selling print books.

The London Evening Standard reports the last year: “Sales at the shop – which has traded from its flagship Charing Cross Road store since 1906 – rose nearly 10 per cent to give the company its first pre-tax profit since the Nineties.”

According to the Standard, “The Foyles figures show that like for like sales for the year ending June 30 were up 9.7 per cent on the previous 12 months, compared with a 5.6 per cent decline in sales in the books industry overall.”

This is an interesting shift. Sam Husain, Foyles’ chief executive, gave credit to having a knowledgeable staff and having a destination that attracts fans of books. It should also be noted that the business has an e-commerce store and sells eBooks. Stores in other cities such as Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon and Politics and Prose in Washington, DC, have the same kind of destination attraction, along with a digital business model.

Rather than talking about the death of print and the death of bookstores, it may be time for booksellers to look at these community based bookstores as models for how physical stores can co-exist with a good digital business plan.

What do you think?