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Bookstores dwindle

bookThe rate at which Kiwis are moving away from books and towards digital media appears to be accelerating.

New figures taken by Impact PR from an analysis of data provided by the Companies Office shows more book retailers closed in 2013 than in any of the previous 12 years.

Impact PR director, Fleur Revell, says there has been a 212 per cent increase in local bookstore closures in the past seven years than in the previous seven − a change that can be linked to the widespread introduction of e-reader devices in 2007.

A total of 291 bookstores throughout NZ have closed since 2007 − 46 closed in 2011, 50 in 2012 and 68 in 2013.

“We also used the same methodology to identify trends among bricks and mortar video retailers and found a similar pattern with video store closures,” said Revell.

A follow up survey on Kiwis’ use of digital media shows many people expect to increase their use of digital media when it comes to reading online, but have concerns about the way that will affect literacy.

“Even the 18 to 24 year olds, who have grown up in a digitally savvy world, are concerned about the impact on literacy with 47 per cent believing this will have a negative result.”

Despite those concerns, 92 per cent of Kiwis still believe there is a place for libraries in the future, as more e-books are published.

“Kiwis may be worried about literacy, but it’s not stopping them from using their smartphones, tablets, e-readers and computers to consume books, news and magazine content,” says Revell.

“One in five of those surveyed intend to read online newspapers even more in this year.”

The survey also shows that the electronic trend is not limited to younger generations, with a greater number in the 55 to 64 group intending to read more electronic books over the next twelve months than any other group.

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