Online sales final page for independent bookshop

No competing with online sales

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 05:00 28/07/2014
Tim and Glenda Skinner
CAN’T COMPETE: Tim and Glenda Skinner say people take photos of their books with iPhones then buy the same product from a website.
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The owners of another independent Wellington bookshop closing its doors say the might of online juggernaut Amazon and its peers spelt the final chapter.

Capital Books will close at the end of next month after 18 years of trading.

Owners Tim and Glenda Skinner said the impact of offshore book buying and the growth of the ebook industry were the most significant reasons for their decision.

Tim Skinner said despite the couple's health battles they were not ready to retire.

But customers were increasingly driven to lower-priced options like Kindle and Amazon.

"People come in to take photos of our books with their iPhones that we have so kindly displayed for them and then they walk out and they buy the same product from a website because it's cheaper coming from Hong Kong.

"It's hard to compete with that."

Skinner had to explain to customers demanding price matches.

"I tell them we have to pay rent, we have to pay rates, we have to pay the staff and we don't get our books from a big warehouse that doesn't have to pay GST. If we matched their prices we wouldn't stay in business."

Skinner thanked the "loyal regulars" who had called by to shake the owners' hands since they announced the closure last Friday.

Unity Books owner Tilly Lloyd labelled Capital Books' closure a loss for Wellington.

The inner-city bookshops had rejected rivalry in favour of "camaraderie."

"Unity Books is proud of the many years of happy cross-referring when one of our shops had run out of a book -what Murray Pillar at Millwood Gallery coined as ‘co-opetition'- and there were also occasions where we also shared staff.

"Losing Capital Books means that we at Unity will feel significantly ‘lesser' in both a cultural and community sense."

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- The Dominion Post

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