Booksellers' jaws dropped today upon hearing that federal Minister for Small Business Nick Sherry had predicted that online shopping would wipe out general bookstores within five years.
The minister said this morning he expected that only specialist players in capital cities would survive.
- I don't believe that all bookshops will close, and I certainly don't think that 'specialist players' will survive (sorry to say it). In fact, I think the opposite will happen. I think many more bookshops will close in the coming years, and the specialist bookshops ESPECIALLY will shut down. Independent bookshops, I think, will survive this prediction.
- Buying books online has the same problems as buying clothes online. Sometimes things don't fit. You can read reviews and get a sense of what you want to read by word of mouth, but I think that actually flicking through and having a try at the writing style before committing to the purchase, is priceless. I've bought books online, read the first few pages and not wanted to continue. And then you're stuck with it.
- Even though I'm guilty of buying books online, there is still nothing I enjoy more than going into a bookshop and spending time walking slowly through the aisles - looking at all the beautiful covers, the spines lined up like european houses, and talking to the passionate staff.
- I'm not against buying online. I buy a lot of books online. Because at the end of the day I'm still supporting the authors and the Australian publishing industry.
- When eBooks first started, everyone was claiming 'the death of the book.' But that hasn't happened, nor do I think it will. I think the notion that bookshops will all close due to online shopping is excessive. Yes, it will definitely affect the book selling industry. But I doubt it will be detrimental.
- Rather than making such a heartbreaking prediction, there needs to be more action to stop this. Not just for the bookshops, but for financial reasons. Hundreds of thousands of Australian dollars, every day, are going overseas to online purchases because we don't pay GST on the goods, while the industry spends money importing overseas goods to sell here. If Australia wants to protect it's book selling industry AND it's economy, there needs to an added GST on imported goods. That way, hopefully, people will be more inclined to buy in local bookshops.
Sorry if that was a jumble of thoughts.
What does everyone think about that prediction? How do you feel?