Independent Booksellers Week: Booksellers’ financial survey points towards diversification of bookshops to ensure growth – bookshops with cafés saw profits up

As Independent Booksellers Week (IBW), a week-long celebration of independent bookshops launches, the Booksellers Association (BA) has revealed business data showing that independent bookshops with cafés bucked the trend – and grew their turnover last year.

The survey reviewed detailed business data from 40 independent bookshops across the UK.  Those with cafes saw 3% growth in turnover in 2011, compared to 5.2% decline for those without.  The research also found that bookshops with cafes also saw a 2% increase in book turnover as opposed to 4% down across all shops.

The results illustrate a pattern of successful diversification, where booksellers are going to extraordinary lengths to retain their presence on the high street.  Across the bookshops surveyed, book sales accounted for nearly three quarters of total annual turnover, with non book sales accounting for 26% (¹).

IBW is part of the BA’s Keep Books on Your High Street campaign highlighting the stark issues facing bricks and mortar bookselling to publishers, Government and consumers. IBW highlights the important part independent bookshops play in their communities – the excellent, personal service and their role as community hubs.

This is against the overall picture which shows continued reduction in high street bookshops in Britain – there were 1,094 independent bookshops in membership of the BA, and 3,655 total outlets in membership by the end of 2011.  This included 73 independent bookshops closures in 2011 and 36 openings.

Meryl Halls, Booksellers Association, said:  “IBW is all about encouraging people to go into their local bookshop and engage with the great activity going on there.  We want customers to celebrate their local bookshop and vote with their feet and use their local bookshop or risk losing it.  Bookshops are social and cultural hubs and provide far more to communities than books and as such deserve and require strong action to preserve their unique role in British life.”