Book shop closes

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - ASA AN­DER­SON

Un­able to com­pete with the af­ford­abil­ity and ease of on­line shop­ping, a long-stand­ing in­de­pen­dent book store is clos­ing.

Ter­race End Books and Toys in Palmer­ston North is shut­ting its doors on June 30.

The shop had spent 35 years as Barnes Books and Toys, be­fore it was bought by Ali­son Stokes in 2010 and its name changed.

She and hus­band Bruce, who worked at the store, had been un­able to match it with ‘‘big box’’ stores and in­ter­na­tional web­sites.

‘‘The first few years were sat­is­fac­tory, but in the last three years there have been ma­jor changes,’’ Bruce Stokes said.

While the shop added an on­line pres­ence in 2012, with Models at 747, it was ul­ti­mately un­able to dent the dig­i­tal dom­i­nance of internet giants such as Ama­zon.

‘‘On­line shops are just cheaper. There’s more choice and of­ten they can de­liver it faster to the client than we can or­der it in for them.

‘‘To be hon­est, why would clients shop here when it’s cheaper to buy prod­ucts on­line?’’

Ama­zon’s value reached $673 bil­lion this week. It’s dom­i­nance of the mar­ket over the past 20 years has not only hurt small book­sellers, but large chains such as Bor­ders and Whit­coulls.

Fel­low Palmer­ston North inde- pen­dent book­seller Bruce McKen­zie em­pathised with the Ter­race End shop – and all re­tail­ers.

‘‘We are all suf­fer­ing by the hand of on­line stores.’’

How­ever, he felt be­ing a book spe­cial­ist had helped his busi­ness hold its own.

‘‘We spe­cialise in books, noth­ing else. That prob­a­bly helps us sur­vive be­cause peo­ple know to find a good se­lec­tion here.’’

Tim Brown, man­ager of Palmer­ston North’s Manna Chris­tian store, agreed. Trad­ing within the niche Chris­tian mar­ket had en­abled its sur­vival.

‘‘We are able to price com­peti- tively be­cause we get 99 per cent of our books di­rectly from our pub­lish­ers, which al­lows us to sell our books at a low price.’’

Tilly Lloyd, man­ager and coowner of Unity Books in Welling­ton, said de­liv­er­ing a good service to at­tract peo­ple to shop lo­cally was cru­cial.

‘‘Our staff peo­ple are savvy and friendly, and we also have a big web trade and ef­fi­cient spe­cial or­ders.’’

Al­though Ter­race End Books and Toys used to be known for its spe­cial­ist mag­a­zines, Bruce Stokes said it had been un­able to con­tinue this due to ex­ter­nal fac­tors.

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/FAIR­FAX NZ

Ter­race End Books and Toys sold a range of models, mag­a­zines and toys, but Bruce Stokes said they could not com­pete with prices and stock se­lec­tion on­line.

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