Nick Sherry, the Australian Minister for Small Business, has caused no small amount of fuss today. He predicted that web retailers would wipe out most brick and mortar bookstores within five years.
Naturally, this has the bookstores in question upset, with responses ranging from stunned to furious. “That’s left me open-mouthed, I can’t believe someone has said that,” said Steve Belton, manager of the Paperchain Bookstore. “I’m just astonished to hear that sort of comment.
But should this really come as a surprise? Australia has an unique situation when it comes to selling books, and the Minister is simply extending the current trends to their reasonable conclusion.
Do you like to buy books online because they’re cheaper? Be glad you don’t live in Australia, the home of the $20 massmarket paperback. It is ridiculously cheaper to buy online in Australia, and in the long run that simple fact will likely cause the Minister’s prediction to come true.