Book shop closes
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.
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.