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Friday, February 18, 2011

REDgroup Angus & Robertson/Borders News

Hi all,

Just a quick update on what everyone has been hearing about the REDgroup going into voluntary administration. We don't really know much at this point in time. I know it is plastered all over the news and all, but we won't know anything for a little bit. Don't fret though, we are open and ready for business. The only thing we can't do at the moment is sell gift cards - though we are redeeming them. 

There has been a lot of controversy about the redeeming of the giftcards at the moment and customer has every right to be upset and angry - but spare a thought for us (staff). We get told absolutely nothing until the very last moment. We are trying to work with our customer's with their vouchers - trying our hardest to make it so they are not charged double the price. It is all up in the air for us - but we are working on things. Read this page if you want to know more

There are a lot of factors as to why things are like this which Bookseller/Publisher Mag has written up here if you would like to go have a look.

Just a few to list are:

  • Among the former: no stimulus package payments for Christmas 2010, a strong Australian dollar, overseas online competition (helped slightly by lack of GST on overseas purchases), move by consumers to online purchasing whether driven by price or not
  • 2010 was the first year in its 10-year history in Australia that Nielsen BookScan reported a decline in book sales by mainstream retailers
  • Anecdotal evidence in the local book industry suggests around 10-15% (possibly more) of book sales to Australian consumers are from overseas online retailers and the current strong Australian dollar and visibility of price differentials mean this proportion is growing
All these things hurt us and as we are a independently owned franchise we just can't compete with the supermarket chain stores. They sell their books at below cost and they buy their stock at such low discount that we just can't compete. They have other stock in which they make up the loss of profit by selling books for under the cost price at which WE buy them. As we can't order from overseas as we would like, because there are the laws tying our hands it make it difficult to make money to stay open. 
If we can't stay open then where are you going to get your books from? Online you say - yes you can and probably will go online as it is so much cheaper but think of this when you do buy online, you are not supporting Australia. All your money is going to the US and the UK. 

E-books are a part of our lives now and they are not necessarily the enemy. People who love an E-book generally buy a hard copy of it for their shelves, just like people who download on I tunes - they are more likely to go buy the cd of it as well.  We can deal with E-books and make a place for them in the stones and mortar stores. It is the overseas buying that is killing the book industry.

If book stores go, where are you going to meet your favourite authors? How are you going to have events? How can Australian authors make a break into the Australian market if the Australian publishers are not going to take a risk on them? This not only affects chains such as Angus & Robertson and Borders - it affects ALL the publishers in Australia! Where are they going to showcase the next author like Matthew Reilly, Fiona McIntosh, Monica McInerney, Peter Temple, Peter FitzSimmons? 

Yes the prices are dearer, we all know that. Do you know what your paying for? You are paying for service, your paying for the feeling of being able to talk with people who know their books. I know there are a LOT of book stores out there that are crap and unfriendly, but by people refusing to support their local stores they are shutting down the book stores (like ours) that are worth the time and trouble to come in. We are all feeling the pinch as times become harder, we need to survive as well.

Our store is a family owned franchise, if we fail it won't be our support office that feels it. It will be the two individuals that poured their savings into buying the store. We can't price match as we simply can NOT afford to, not because we don't want to. 

So we will weather this storm and see how it turns out. If there is any more info we will post it up on facebook, twitter or the blog. For now we are open and ready for business as usual - we will see you in store!!

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