Online Bookshops in Australia

In the past week I have been writing a paper for Uni on the Australian Online Book Industry.  This is an important time for book shops especially with parallel importing being allowed on books.  On the blogs there has been quite a bit of buzz about this having no affect on book prices as most of the books sold now (outside of the new release 30 days window) are being sourced from overseas at a lot cheaper price but sold at the high Australian retail pricing.  In the Book Abyss post http://www.thebookabyss.com.au/abyss-blog/?y=2009&m=7 an example is a book sold at Big W for a couple of dollars more than the Amazon delivered price is sold in Dymocks at $25.  Both books are sourced off shore at under $15.  So the argument is that parallel importing won’t change retail prices.

But it is interesting to review that even with these changes the Australian online bookshops are not using the digital medium as well as category killers such as Amazon and that there is a lot of work to do in order for these companies to remain relevant and competivite.  The big gap (in my opinion) is for the Australian brick and mortar business to leverage their off-line business to provide true differentiation through buy online and pick instore fulfilment concepts.  By doing this and reducing costs to reduce book prices they can then reduce some of the impact of Amazon in this market.

Do you agree?

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