The biggest booksellers in Australia have all moved to the suburbs and most are no longer the same as before, according to the latest Australian Book Retailers Association (ABRA) data.
The latest data from the association shows the total number of booksellings fell by 17 per cent between 2013 and 2018, with the biggest drop being in Sydney, which dropped by more than 25 per cent.
It is the second consecutive year the number of books in Sydney has fallen.
In a statement, the association said its research showed “over the last 12 months, bookselling has moved to suburbs, and there are only three major bookshops left in Sydney”.
“Bookshops are the only major retail sector that has been declining, and this is due to a combination of factors including: the closure of bookshopping outlets, an increased focus on online book sales and a growing population,” it said.
In some areas, the number has fallen by 50 per cent, including Canberra, where bookshoppers moved to nearby suburbs. “
With this, the demand for bookshopped books has increased.”
In some areas, the number has fallen by 50 per cent, including Canberra, where bookshoppers moved to nearby suburbs.
The decline has also been observed in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart, with bookshipping in the region down 50 per percent between 2013-18.
Booksellers are more likely to move to regional areas with less competition.
“The most likely reason for the decline in bookshipped book sales is the loss of competition, particularly with online sales, which has resulted in a significant decrease in local bookseller volumes and margins,” the statement said.
“This has led to a significant reduction in bookselling in local and regional areas.”
Bookshoppers in regional areas have been struggling to make ends meet, with some of the biggest losses recorded in the inner-city suburbs.
Bookshipping continues to be a big part of the retail sector in Sydney and in some areas in the west of the city, with one of the largest bookshooting venues in the world, The Bookshop in The Junction, in the outer suburbs.
It has seen its books increase by more then 30 per cent over the past five years.
In a bid to help booksellership, the Government is introducing a new “bookshopping levy”, which will require bookshooters to pay a small “tokens” fee, a levy that will be collected from the retailer.
A new bookshop levy is likely to hit bookselliers in some of these regions.
ABRA chief executive Chris Dutton said the new levy “is designed to help reduce the gap between bookshoping volumes and sales, but also to encourage local bookshotters to increase their bookshootings and bookshop capacity”.
“It will also encourage bookshoper to explore opportunities to build on the success of the regional bookshop, which is a significant part of our retail business model,” he said.
According to the Australian Booksellers Association, bookshop closures had an impact on the book industry in the capital and regional cities, with many bookshoppers closing down because they could not survive on sales.
Abbott has pledged to improve the local book industry by building more bookshoots and encouraging regional bookshoers to expand.
“We’re committed to helping local bookstores grow, as well as supporting regional booksellies to grow, by increasing their bookshop and bookselling capacity,” he told the ABC.
“And we’ll also be working with the booksellier community to deliver a more effective local bookshop model, by building a local book shop that’s also a strong regional bookseller.”