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A dismal future for bookshops?

23 May 2011

'The inevitable disappearance of the vast majority of bookshops will remove a main marketing channel and will seriously undermine the power of publishers. It will also increase the scary dominance of Amazon. Book printers will, sadly, mostly go out of business, and physical books will become more expensive as a consequence of reduced economies of scale. Public libraries, as repositories of physical volumes, will disappear...

English-language publishers and authors may well reap huge benefits from the upheaval. There are about 600m native English speakers and 1.4bn who read English. Most don't buy English-language books now because of the barriers inherent in physical goods. But they would read books in English if they were widely distributed online and cheap. These are incremental sales that UK and US publishers should be pursuing aggressively right now.'

UK investor Luke Johnson, former Chairman of Borders UK, in Publishers' Lunch