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Christian Bookstores Face the Threat of Online Sales

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By Alex Elkan, Christian Post Contributor
December 6, 2011|2:38 pm

Christian brick and mortar stores are increasingly having a hard time selling books due to our Internet society.

Manager Darren Peach, who works at the Keith Jones Christian Bookshop in Bournemouth, England, has seen better times. The Keith Jones Christian Bookshop employs 10 people and sells everything from books, gifts, and music on a 3,000 square foot floor space.

With more people buying and selling on the Internet than ever before, conventional brick and mortar stores are the ones feeling the pain. According to Fox News, sales were up by 33 percent on Cyber Monday, in comparison to last year. Shoppers spent over $1 billion on Cyber Monday in 2010.

The BBC reported that the Keith Jones Christian Bookshop has been open for 54 years and carries 40,000 book titles and the largest selection of Bibles in England.

Peach, when describing how the Christian bookshop is fairing, said: “We've never really experienced a tough time like we are going through at the moment.”

The manager the number of customers that shop at the store has dropped by a third since 2005.

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 “The Internet has had a massive effect on independent retailers, particularly on booksellers and music sellers - we want a piece of that market and have our own online presence,” said Peach. “We were very lucky to be offered the lease to buy a few years ago. If we had to pay town centre rates, I don't think we'd still be going.”

The number of people who shop at Bournemouth has dropped drastically. According to Bournemouth Business Improvement District, 21 million people shopped there in 2005, and in 2010, that number dropped to 14 million.

England is not the only place the digital era is affecting. In Louisiana, the Bible and Book Center is just another example of the numerous shops struggling this holiday season.

Janet Dearman, who owns The Bible and Book Center, is not only worried about the low sales, but of having to close the shop up for good.

“We’ve downsized our store from 9,000 square feet to 4,000 square feet in the past few years,” said Dearman.

“We used to have 15 employees, and now we are down to three,” Dearman added.

Dearman said she lacks the funds for advertising, but has been using social media, such as, Facebook and email alerts. She said the Internet is “so easy” and plans to offer a better online shopping experience in the future.

The Bible and Book Center is the only independent Christian bookshop in Louisiana and she feels it is her duty to keep it open.

 

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