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What Bookstores Reveal about Consumers

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Some might say that turning the page of a physical book is an experience that cannot be replicated by a digital screen. The same could also be said for the experience of purchasing a book in a brick-and-mortar store compared to online (which for some is just a click in an online shop while they’re in their pajamas at home).

When the Kindle launched in 2007, many panicked and wondered what was going to happen to the printed page. There were even talks of bookstores being wiped out within 10 years. But today, the ebook craze has left many consumers with clunky and unhip devices they, admittedly, never use and sales of consumer ebooks are on a steady decline, dropping by 17% in 2017.

To the delight of print fans, physical book sales are up by 10% since 2013, and the bookstore culture is alive and well. While buying a physical book online offers convenience, bookstores sell more than just books–they sell a unique and personal experience you cannot find online. Many bookstores today have a side hustle, such as a coffee shop or gift shop, to drum up more sales and create an inviting atmosphere that encourages customers to linger.

In 2017, one of China’s biggest private bookstore chains, Sisyphe, did what most book chains are struggling to do: It opened its first Beijing store with plans to open four more Beijing branches. These popular bookstores attract readers on the weekends and are a haven for escaping from the stress of the city, providing plenty of places to read and relax.

Humans are social creatures by nature and our desire for connection and community is a timeless driving factor in purchase behavior. The continued success of the Sisyphe bookstores and others around the world, such as Powell’s, The Last Bookstore, and Books@One, are proof that the consumer is in search of experiences as much as a quick, one-click-purchase.

Contributed By:Lynn Gampert, Integer Hamburg

Image Source: Unsplash

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