Book Stores in the US Industry Market Research Report from IBISWorld has Been Updated

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Changing consumer behavior and increasing competition from e-commerce and alternative retailers like mass merchandisers have been hampering growth over the past five years for the Book Stores industry. Although these trends are forecast to continue over the next five years, some operators will benefit from increasing demand for new technologies like e-readers. The book store companies that can keep up with consumer and technology trends will fare well in the coming years, while the continued decline in physical book sales will keep the overall industry in decline. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has updated a report on the Book Stores industry in its growing industry report collection.

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The industry will remain in decline as readers continue shopping online

Book Stores industry retailers have had their pages ruffled during the five years to 2012. While demand for their merchandise has fallen, consumers have not ceased purchasing books altogether. Beginning in 2008, the recession lowered disposable income and consumer sentiment, causing individuals to cut back on discretionary purchases, such as reading materials. “The recession made consumers more price conscious,” says IBISWorld industry analyst Justin Waterman. “They now tend to survey all purchasing options for the best price before buying products.”

With these changes in consumer behavior, the Book Stores industry has experienced increased competition from mass merchandisers, department stores and online retailers that has occurred into the economic recovery. All of these competitors are able to offer a wide selection of books at competitive prices, causing consumers to buy books at places other than book stores. From 2007 to 2012, industry revenue is expected to decrease at an average annual 3.0% per year to $17.9 billion. In 2012, revenue decline is anticipated to slow to 1.1% per year on average as consumer spending improves with the economy. The trend toward shopping online will keep the industry in decline. “Major players in this industry, including Barnes & Noble, have multiple retail outlets throughout the United States, while smaller companies are independently owned and operate at the local level,” adds Waterman. “The concentration level for this industry has fluctuated over the past five years as many smaller stores have left the industry and Borders recently went into bankruptcy, increasing Barnes & Noble's market share significantly.”

While the economy is expected to grow in the next five years, the industry will not follow suit. The industry will continue to face heightened competition from external competitors and will find it difficult to adapt to new technological trends. In the previous five years, many consumers shifted from reading physical books to reading digital books on e-readers. As this trend continues, physical book sales will decline, negatively affecting most book stores. This trend will benefit a few book stores, such as Barnes & Noble, since the company has created its own e-reader and thriving e-book store. During this period, many stores will not be able to remain profitable and will be forced to close their doors. From 2012 to 2017, establishment numbers are projected to decrease. Some firms will be able to weather the changes in the industry by differentiating themselves through niche markets or adapting to new technological trends. For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Book Stores in the US industry report page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

Companies in this industry retail a broad range of book and newspaper merchandise including trade books, textbooks, magazines, paperbacks and religious books. These goods are purchased from domestic (and in some cases international) manufacturers and wholesalers. Operators then retail these goods, through their stores, to the general public. This industry excludes retailers that operate primarily as used merchandise stores or electronic shopping and mail-order houses.

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
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