Beyond Borders - Specialty Retailers & Bookselling

“The national bookstore chain has peaked as a sales channel, and the growth is not going to come from there,” David Steinberger, chief executive of the Perseus Books Group said in a recent NYT article.

Coldwater Creek, Lowe’s, Bass Pro Shops and even Cracker Barrel are adding new books. Some mass retailers, too, are diversifying - Target, for instance, is moving away from male-centered best sellers and adding more women’s and children’s titles this year.

"The ability to catch a shopper’s eye in a store is almost impossible to mimic online." 

Though sales to nonbook retailers can be more complicated and labor-intensive for publishers, books are generally sold on a nonreturnable basis. Bookstores, on the other hand, can return unsold books to publishers.

“We know it’s a nice clean sale,” said John Duff, publisher of Perigee Books, an imprint of Penguin Group USA.

Aaron Hoey, head merchant for home and accessories at Anthropologie says, “We do a very good job of selecting unique books, books you’re not going to find in a typical bookstore, and certainly not in a mass-market bookstore like Borders or Barnes & Noble. And to stumble across it at Amazon, you have to really know what you’re looking for.”

(in the Anthropologie window display above, the letters 'S' 'N' 'O' 'W' are falling down and accumulating.)