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 Book Shops > Atherstone BookTown meeting – How Many Books?

Atherstone BookTown meeting – How Many Books?

I was unable to attend the AtherstoneBookTown meeting but I’m led to believe by several correspondents that James Hanna suggested that sales of 500 books per month from an online stock of 5,000 titles were not only possible but were being achieved.

This seemed to me to be an extraordinarily high turnover rate, let alone one based on such a small stock, so I spoke to two booksellers with years of experience and very much larger stocks.

Cotswold Internet Books in Cheltenham have been booksellers for twenty years and have been trading online since 1996. They currently have a stock of some 55,000 books listed on a number of databases including ABE and Amazon. John Newland, the owner, told me that he currently expects to sell approx.1 book per 1,500 listed, per day. That’s 36 per day or 1,080 per month. John stressed that to achieve this he has to buy and catalogue at least 300 handpicked books every week. He also commented that he knew of only one bookseller still managing sales of 1 book per 1,000 per day, but this was a long established and very specialist dealer.

Stella Books has been established since 1991 and have shops in Tintern and Hay on Wye (Rose’s). They have been selling books online since 1998 and currently have a stock of about 50,000 books on line. Chris, their manager, told me that they are currently selling about 1 book per day per 2,000 listed. That’s 25 books a day, or 750 per month. Stella Books are members of ibooknet (a bookselling co-operative) who share monthly trading figures. Her view was that figures suggest that an expectation of sales of 1 book per 3,000 listed was becoming the norm. Chris also emphasised that increasingly they are not bothering to list more common titles as the market for them is saturated.

I offer these figures simply as an example of what just two highly experienced and professional booksellers, with quality stock are currently achieving online.

Mike Goodenough

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