Bookstores Industry Overview

  • SIC Code5942
  • NAICS Code451211

Industry Excerpt

Companies in this industry sell books from physical retail locations; they may also sell via websites. Major companies include Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Follett (all based in the US), as well as Fnac Darty (France), Indigo Books & Music (Canada), Kinokuniya (Japan), Page One (China), Thalia (Germany), and WHSmith (UK).

Competitive Landscape

Demand is driven by consumer income. The profitability of individual companies depends on merchandising and marketing. Large companies can provide broader selections and lower prices. Small companies can compete by offering specialized products or serving a local market. The US industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest companies account for about 85% of sales.

Products, Ops & Technology

The industry is segmented into general, college, and specialty bookstores. General bookstores sell mostly trade books (fiction, nonfiction, adult, children’s); college bookstores, mostly textbooks; and specialty bookstores, mostly religious books. Trade books and textbooks each account for about 30% of sales. Religious books represent about 5%. Bookstores may also sell music, DVDs, magazines, toys, and gifts.
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