Web, TV shops cut into bookstore sales


Below is the excerpted article from the JoongAng Daily 

Online bookstores and television home shopping are rapidly gaining in popularity among readers, causing sales to drop at major bookstores..
As of mid-December, 2004 sales at Kyobo Book Center's Gwanghwamun branch in downtown Seoul totaled 95 billion won ($92.6 million), a 0.9-percent decrease compared to the same period the year before. Although it was a small decline, it was the first at Kyobo since its Gwanghwamun branch opened in 1981, which is the single largest book store in Korea terms of sales..
Han Ki-ho of the Korea Publishing Marketing Research Institute said sales declines were seen at most brick-and-mortar bookstores..
On the other hand, sales at LG Home Shopping, which operates TV and online shopping units, soared in 2004. Sales of books totaled 3.5 billion won in 2002 but climbed to 26 billion won in 2003 and 42 billion won last year..
"Last year was not a very good year because of the economy, but sales of children's books surged," said LG official Lim Jae-ho. .
Similarly, year-on-year book sales at CJ Home Shopping doubled last year to 40 billion won. And online shopping mall Interpark sold 104 percent more last year, for 97.5 billion won..
Price was one of the major factors: online and TV shops can offer 10- to 30-percent discounts because publishers give books directly to the shops instead of using distributors as middlemen. Distributors receive 10 to 40 percent of the profits gained from each book or magazine sold, which prevents book stores from offering discounts. .
Differences in marketing strategy also affect sales. "When women see a host selling a book set which is supposed to be very good for children's education, they are compelled to buy it. Offline bookstores don't really focus on a particular product," said CJ Home Shopping's Jeon Seong-gon..