Lucid neo-librarians but confident in the future

Lucid neo-librarians but confident in the future
Lucid neo-librarians but confident in the future

Two years after the study devoted to “bookstore creators and buyers”, the consultant from Axiales firm Mathilde Rimaud, presented, Monday June 17 during the second day of the National Bookstore Meetings, a new part of the survey dedicated to these professionals to find out “Where are the new booksellers? », the full figures of which are available on the website of the Syndicat de la livre française (SLF).

First observation: the attractiveness of the bookseller profession is confirmed. Between 2019 and 2023, the network expanded with 574 bookstore creations. If 2021 represents a “ year of change », the peak was reached the following year with no less than 189 openings (33% of the total). Despite a slight decline since then, the number remains high with 169 creations in 2023. And this enthusiasm concerns the entire French territory with a number of creations ” fairly homogeneous and an even finer mesh », Points out Mathilde Rimaud.

Women in their forties

Who wears these openings? Mostly women (66.7%), aged 45 or younger (54%). “ The creators are rather young », observes the expert, specifying that “ 23% of them are under 35 years old “. 33.7% of these people have had experience in a bookstore and opt for a general bookstore (75%). `

When the choice of specialization is made, neo-booksellers are consistent with market results: comics and manga are on the rise (36.7% of specialized bookstores), as are young people (26. 5%). New fact: the emergence of brands specializing in imaginative literature.

New bookstores also favor opening in municipalities with less than 20,000 inhabitants (53.3% of the total). More than one brand in five is even located in a town with less than 5,000 inhabitants. In fact, these businesses are modest in size (75 m2 on average) but with well-stocked shelves (7,000 items on average). Note, however, that half of the respondents offer fewer than 6,500 references.

Precariousness

By effect of “ correlation between their location and their reduced economic surface area », the median turnover stands at 170,000 euros. Furthermore, more than half (54%) of brands rest solely on the shoulders of the manager. The latter find themselves in a situation of “ great precariousness “. Almost half (43%) cannot in fact be paid and only 22% receive remuneration above the minimum wage.

Added to this precariousness are a certain number of difficulties such as lack of profitability, workload or even lack of time. Booksellers also expect better discounts, improved distribution and transport service or better consideration as level 2 bookstores.

However, pessimism is not appropriate. Among the good news: satisfaction linked, for 87% of them, to their choice of location, where they often believe they are filling a gap, or to the presence of a local clientele (79.5%). So much so that these neo-booksellers do not experience “ no regrets » to have chosen “ a profession of passion “. And above all, 75% want to be optimistic for the future of their brand.

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