Monday, September 12, 2011
Britain's Supermarkets Play Large Role in Mass-Marketing of Books
Spine chilling. Mass-market retailing changed publishing before the e-book. (The Economist, 9.9.2011)
Excerpt: Just as book superstores forced out many independents, so supermarkets and other mass retailers have since crowded the book chains (see chart). In Britain, when price regulation was disbanded in 1997, supermarkets rushed in and now sell a quarter of all books, according to the way that Nielsen, a market-research outfit, calculates it. Belgium and Finland mimicked this trend.
This has been good for readers: in Britain the average price of a book has fallen by 15% since 2003, reckons BML Bowker, a book-marketing consultancy. And demand has grown: consumers spend the same amount on books, so they must be buying more. Those independent bookshops that survived the chain war in America and Britain have held sales and prices steady. Meanwhile, mass retailers find books such a draw that they lure in customers by selling some titles at a loss.
Sidebar. Britain has more supermarkets than pubs, figures show. (The Telegraph, 3/21/2009)