There are opportunities for genuine growth and a renewed vitality in bricks and mortar bookselling if the business model is reinvented, Oren Teicher, c.e.o. of the American Booksellers Association (ABA), told the Book Industry Conference yesterday (16th May).
In a confident speech, Teicher told delegates of a "renaissance" in American independent bookselling, with a new generation of booksellers eager to take the industry forward. And he promised there would shortly be an announcement from the ABA of a pilot project to "incubate" new bookshops in markets underserved since the closure of local Borders stores.
But Teicher said the traditional publishing/bookselling business model was "creaking, even groaning" under the pressures of technological change, calling it "an antiquated system in need of a complete reappraisal".
Stressing the importance of bricks and mortar stores as showrooms for the trade, he argued: "Publishers and booksellers must work together to retain the physical spaces where readers can discover books", and said that new practices—such as foregoing returnability for higher discount, or the consignment model—were now being actively discussed in the US.
Every bookseller should have an e-commerce site and consider print-on-demand capacity, Teicher added, saying that bricks and mortar booksellers can add value to e-book sales in exactly the same way they do to print sales, with their powers of recommendation and advice, and their passion for books.