Book chain shuts up shop


TheBookBoys,books, adelaide, retailSouth Australia-based book chain, The Boys Books, says it’s losing business in its final weeks of trade due to construction work in Rundle Mall.’

The redevelopments are part of the Adelaide City Council’s $30 million project to upgrade the city’s main shopping precinct.

In December The Books Boys confirmed it will close all of its eight stores across South Australia.

John Roberts, MD of The Book Boys, says the redevelopment is effecting the city store’s final days of trade.

“It’s an absolute disgrace,” Roberts said.

“It’s horrible. They’ve just started revamping Rundle Mall and they’ve taken down all the trees and have put barricades in front of our shop. It’s just destroyed our trade,” he said.

While the store is still accessible to the public, Roberts says the barricades have diminished the mall’s foot traffic.

The Book Boys has closed three stores in South Australia in the last month. The remaining five will close over the coming months.

The Rundle Mall store opened in November on a short term and will close its doors on February 7.

Rundle Mall construction
Rundle Mall construction

Industry challenges

Rundle Mall’s redevelopment is not the only challenge the nine year old book chain has faced.

Roberts says the publishing industry and Australian department stores are to blame for the demise of the local book industry.

“When the publishers offer bigger discounts to the department stores it makes it virtually impossible for us to compete.

“They’ve bought the book industry with their discount regime. The more you buy, the more discount you get, but unless we were a cooperative we’re just not going to get the discounts.

“We’ve been able to buy books from department stores cheaper than we can buy them from the publishers. But, my biggest gripe is that the publishers did not help us. They have been our worst enemy and that’s why I believe the demise of the bookshop is inevitable.

“We’re also competing against people from overseas that don’t have to pay GST. They’re getting books into Australia, again, probably cheaper than we can buy them.”

The company considered launching an online store but claims it could not get a competitive enough offer from publishers to make it an attractive investment.

“We’ve got great staff, great discounts, but you just can’t beat technology.”

Like many retailers, increasingly high rents also took a toll on the chain.

“In my opinion, the rents in Australia are totally unrealistic and [retailers] are not getting any support.”

Roberts says he is seeking to claim compensation for the loss of business in Rundle Mall.

This article appeared in Inside Retail PREMIUM issue 1984. To view the full issue, click here with your username and password.

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