Indie Bookstore Sales Up Nearly 5% in 2018
|Holiday shoppers at Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich.|
The trend of strong sales at independent bookstores in the U.S. continued through 2018 and during the holiday season. In addition to reports from many stores about having some of the best sales days ever during the holiday period last month, the American Booksellers Association has reported that unit sales at indie stores grew in 2018 by nearly 5% over 2017, and that sales in the holiday period were up at a similar level. (These sales are reported by ABA member bookstores for the association's national indie bestseller list.) Moreover, the strong sales in recent years brings compound growth at independent booksellers over the last five years to 7.5%.
The ABA said that stores using IndieCommerce did especially well. As ABA CEO Oren Teicher noted in a letter to members, "Of special note is the continued growth in sales for member stores employing IndieCommerce. Preliminary results indicate that year-over-year IndieCommerce sales numbers will be more than 10% over 2017, with an especially strong increase in the final eight weeks of the year."
In related good news about indies, last year the ABA added 95 indie bookstore members that opened for business in 35 states, the District of Columbia, and Bermuda, Bookselling This Week reported. The new stores include 14 branches or satellites of existing businesses. In addition, 28 established ABA member stores were bought by new owners.
Teicher observed that "compared to what's happening in a lot of bricks-and-mortar retail, our consistent growth clearly stands in pretty stark contrast."
In his letter, Teicher said that the "upward sales trend is a testament to the ongoing commitment by indie booksellers to professional development, ongoing innovation, a strategic focus on store finances, sustained customer assistance, and community involvement. And, against that background, I do want to say that ABA fully understands that there are bookstores in communities that are not seeing these gains for a number of reasons, and ABA will continue to do everything we can to help ensure that all member stores can meet their core business goals."