Book Stores

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 2,500 book stores in the US primarily sell books, magazines, and other types of reading materials. Major revenue categories include trade books; text books; CDs, records, and related audio products; religious books; mass market paperbacks; and magazines and newspapers. Book stores also sell meals, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, souvenirs, novelty items, and stationery products. The industry is concentrated; the top four companies account for 69% of industry revenue.

Challenges of eBooks

Electronic books and their proprietary formats have been a challenge for independent book stores.

Competition from Alternative Sources

Book stores compete with a variety of alternative sources, including online retailers, traditional retailers, electronic distributors, publishers, and libraries.

Industry size & Structure

The average independent book store operates out of a single location, employs 10-11 workers and generates $1 million annually.

    • The book store industry
    • The industry is concentrated; the top four companies account for 69% of industry revenue.
    • Large companies include Barnes & Noble, Follett Corporation, Books-a-Million, and Family Christian Stores.
    • The average college student spent $456 on course materials in Spring 2021 and 78% of students bought from college book stores, according to OnCampus Research and the National Association for College Stores (NACS).
                              Industry Forecast
                              Book Stores Industry Growth
                              Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                              Recent Developments

                              Nov 13, 2022 - Retailers De-emphasize Fast Shipping
                              • Retailers are focusing on delivering packages to customers on specific dates this holiday season, rather than competing on delivery speed, according to The Wall Street Journal. Experts say that a race for e-commerce delivery speed has narrowed retailers’ sales profit margins. Inflation-conscious consumers now dialing back their online shopping, however, so many retailers are focused on restraining the high costs of fulfillment and last-mile delivery. Online shoppers are now more willing to wait for certain deliveries, having gotten used to supply-chain disruptions at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Terry Esper, associate professor of logistics at the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.
                              • BookTok, a community on social media platform TikTok that is based around the #BookTok hashtag, is being followed by authors, book stores, and book publishers, but a growing portion of the community is pushing back against some recommendations. A recent user post which called one BookTok recommendation “the worst piece of English literature” the user has ever read went viral on Twitter, inspiring many to share their own complaints about popular BookTok choices. A search through the hashtag yields similar videos where users list overrated books or the BookTok books that they refuse to read. Industry experts say that book store owners may need to track negative BookTok trends as well as positive ones.
                              • Big box retailers that benefited from consumers’ desire to consolidate shopping trips during the coronavirus pandemic have seen foot traffic fall from 2021’s record levels, according to according to location analytics and foot traffic data firm Book stores may benefit from a return to pre-pandemic shopping patterns. July 2022 foot traffic to Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club saw 8.9%, 8.0%, and 6.0% decreases, respectively from the prior year
                              • Publisher Simon & Schuster (S&S) reports that the number of its titles facing bans and challenges has increased 46% due to a surge in censorship activity. The American Library Association said in a preliminary report that it received an “unprecedented” 330 reports of book challenges during the fall of 2021. Each challenge can include multiple books.
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