Amazon’s share of the online marketPosted: March 9, 2011
According to this morning’s Bookseller, a survey carried out by the Institute of Direct Marketing indicates that Amazon has an ‘80% online share’ in the UK.
Furthermore, the IDM places Waterstone’s share of the online book market at 8% (about one-third of its total book market share), and states that 56% of all respondents are buying books online.
This is no surprise at all. As I’ve commented before (several times, I think; click “Amazon ” in the Tags cloud) selling books through bricks and mortar and through a website are two very distinct retail disciplines – more so than in other categories where the retailer can either bring uniqueness of product (eg fashion) or pertinence of selection (eg pet supplies). Most high profile book websites just sell everything, so the contest is down to price, reliability and reputation. Amazon wins, and, without a chain of store leases strung around its neck, will continue to do so.
On the other hand, a website that deliberately set out not to sell everything to everybody – that brought selection and a tone of voice to the market – that could be interesting. The challenge for Waterstone’s, WHS, Tesco et al is that they are striving to compete with Amazon on the ground that Amazon has marked out, and that Amazon is best at. It’d be interesting to know where the Book Depository ranks – they are speaking in their own voice, and editing their choices accordingly.