Verso Study Looks at “Borders Effect”

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The latest study from Verso Digital, which will be the subject of a presentation at next week’s Winter Institute, examines how consumers are adjusting their book buying behavior in the wake of Borders closing. The results of the third annual “Survey of Book Buying Behavior With Verso Digital,” to be presented by Jack McKeown, director of business development for Verso Digital and co-owner of Books & Books in Westhampton, New York, will also focus on e-book ownership projections and pricing preferences, e-book piracy statistics, and split e-book/print book purchasing by e-reader and tablet owners.

Preliminary results of the November 2011 survey released this week reveal that “approximately 60 percent of former Borders customers have yet to appreciably increase their shopping at other bookselling locations,” which, McKeown observed, represents “an ongoing battle for market share among these customers that will spill into 2012 and beyond.”


Of the 35 percent of respondents who indicated that they have turned to another shopping channel to fill the void left by Borders closing, 36.1 percent have increased their visits to online retailers; 27.2 percent indicate a preference for other national chains; 23.1 percent are shopping at local independents booksellers; and 18.3 percent have turned to big-box retailers.

The survey’s results also indicate that “in the fight to capture market share among these former Borders customers, the indies face a ‘proximity challenge,’” said McKeown.

 Fifty-five percent of book buyer respondents in the nationwide survey said that they reside or work at distances greater than 10 miles from the closest independent bookstore, whereas 56 percent reported residing within a 10-mile radius of the nearest chain store.

Discounting is still at the top of the list of factors that would convince 35.7 percent of former Borders shoppers to increase the frequency of their visits to local independents, followed by greater proximity (31.6 percent).

More on Verso’s findings regarding the “Borders effect” and other industry trends will presented in Astor Crowne Plaza’s St. Charles A Room on Thursday, January 19 at from 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.