I took this photo a week or so ago at the Brisbane Borders store. It got me thinking about the future of bookstores (as distinct from the book business) becoming more and more analogous to cinemas.
There are around 220 copies of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books here – and that’s on top of the display on the ground floor, the display in the science fiction and fantasy section, the display in the YA section and the posters promoting the upcoming release of the DVD. It’s no surprise there are reports that the Meyer books accounted for 16% of all tracked book sales in the US in the first quarter.
Many chain bookstores are already stocking fewer titles but the oncoming ebook swarm is about to make that even more profound. I suspect we’re going to see chain bookstores either devote more space to making it easier to buy ebooks instore (in the interim) and then move to stocking substantially fewer “hit” titles. The cinema analogy comes into play when you look at choosing a movie online or from the rental store, or going to see one of eight or 10 movies on the big screen.
Question is how fast it will happen and what it will mean for the book biz in the meantime.