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经济学人:图书销售 毛骨悚然

2014-01-14    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Business 商业

Bookselling 图书销售

Spine chilling 毛骨悚然

Mass-market retailing changed publishing before the e-book
大规模零售市场改变出版业以应对电子书

SNAZZY technology is a twist in a narrative already several chapters long.
时髦的技术作为发展的转折点早已成为历史。

Mass-market retailing has changed the publishing industry: these days books are as likely to be found beside steaks and saucepans as they are to be bought in specialist stores.
大规模零售市场已经改变了出版行业:现在书在食物超市等和肉隔壁柜台就可以买到。

The story turns on whether broader changes in bookselling will stifle literature.
这个现象又产生了一个疑问,就是图书销售进一步的改变是否会扼杀文学。

Dan Brown will survive. Would Dante?
丹?布朗将会幸存,但是但丁呢?

For most of the past century, governments across Europe protected book prices; many still do.
在上世纪的大部分时期,欧洲政府实行了图书价格保护,许多直至今日依然如此。

Even in America, apart from dime-store romances, few titles were sold outside bookshops.
即使在美国,除了廉价商店出售的言情小说,其他一般只能在书店里买到。

But in the 1970s stores like Borders and Barnes & Noble applied a supermarket maxim to print: pile them high and watch them fly.
但是在上世纪70年代,一些书店如鲍德斯和巴诺把超级市场的理念应用到了印刷品:书架高耸,汗牛充栋。

Waterstones did the same thing in Britain and top titles started selling in the hundreds of thousands, even millions.
水石书店在英国实行了同样的策略,排行榜上的畅销书卖出了成千上万,甚至数百万册。

Just as book superstores forced out many independents, so supermarkets and other mass retailers have since crowded the book chains (see chart).
自从随处可见的图书连锁店的出现,许多独立书店都被挤出市场,超级市场和其他大型零售商也是同样排挤他们(如图)。

In Britain, when price regulation was disbanded in 1997, supermarkets rushed in and now sell a quarter of all books, according to the way that Nielsen, a market-research outfit, calculates it.
根据市场调查机构尼尔森的计算,当1997年英国解除价格管制后,超级市场蜂拥而至,如今占领了图书市场的四分之一。

Belgium and Finland mimicked this trend.
比利时和芬兰的情况如出一辙。

This has been good for readers: in Britain the average price of a book has fallen by 15% since 2003, reckons BML Bowker, a book-marketing consultancy.
这曾是消费者的福音:图书市场咨询公司BML Bowker估计,自2003年以来,英国图书的平均价格下跌了15%。

And demand has grown: consumers spend the same amount on books, so they must be buying more.
同时,需求增长了:消费者花费了同样多的钱,因此他们一定购买了更多的图书。

Those independent bookshops that survived the chain war in America and Britain have held sales and prices steady.
在美国和英国的图书联营之战中幸存下来的独立书店,其销量和价格保持了稳定。

Meanwhile, mass retailers find books such a draw that they lure in customers by selling some titles at a loss.
与此同时,大的零售店将某些书亏本销售,用这样的方法来吸引客户到他们的店铺来购物。

Higher turnover should also be positive for publishers.
更高的流通量也应有利于出版商。

But mass retailers demand discounts of up to 60% for bulk orders, shrinking margins.
但是,大型零售商对大宗订单的折扣诉求动辄高达六成,这减少了出版商的利润空间。

All sides prosper when books sell quickly.
图书畅销的时候,全行业生机勃勃。

But, unlike groceries, if books don't sell, retailers return them to the publisher—and do not pay.
但图书和生活用品不同,没被销售的图书可以无条件退还给出版商。

So, when a book with a large print run flops, publishers end up with an expensive pile of recycling.
所以当一本印数巨大的书滞销时,出版商最终只能付出高昂的代价回收。

That is why some publishers have stopped doing new deals with the likes of Costco, an American warehouse retailer, which likes to order very large print runs.
这也正是为什么一些出版商停止了和美国科思科这样的连锁企业签定新合同的原因,他们倾向于大量订货。

Few people will mourn publishers' losses from increased price competition and new technology like e-readers.
很少有人会同情由于价格竞争和新技术(如电子书)而利益受损的出版商。

The question is whether these trends undermine the quality of books which are being published, by breaking a business model that has let firms focus on variety and range.
问题是破坏企业专注于多样化和范围的商业模式的趋势,是否会降低出版图书的质量。

Publishers have good reason to shiver at the decline of traditional bookshops.
传统书店的衰退已经使得出版商不寒而栗。

To fund the discovery and promotion of new authors, they have relied on books that sell steadily over a number of years.
发掘和推销新作者的资金依赖于于出版商多年来销量稳定的图书。

Yet mass retailers stock a few hundred new blockbusters.
当然大型零售商同时备有几百部新畅销书。

At first sight there is no reason for concern. New works are abundant—40% more titles came out in Britain in 2010 than in 2001.
乍一看似乎也无需紧张。新著层出不穷——相比2001年,2010年英国的新书目增长了40%。

But this obscures a starker trend: "mid-list" titles are selling in smaller numbers in America and Britain.
但这遮掩了一个糟糕的趋势,非畅销书在美国和英国的销量比以往更少了。

This matters for cultural life, because most literary fiction and serious non-fiction falls into that bracket and much of it could become uneconomical to publish.
这事关文化生活,因为大部分文学小说和严肃的非小说作品都属于非畅销书,其中大部分出版以后都成为了浪费。



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