W.H. Smith Says Seth Godin Was Right

WH Smith launches ‘Kindle killer’

Analysts are concerned the increasing popularity of electronic books poses a threat to WH Smith, where book sales are already falling. [Chief executive, Kate] Swann countered, however, that although high street demand for printed books “continued to be soft” the ebook market was still small, and that devices like the Kobo were aimed at heavy readers and early adopters.

“The reason that we’re moving aggressively into ebooks is because we believe if ebooks are ultimately successful that they’ll be incremental for us, given [that] our physical books customer base tends to be lighter book readers,” she said.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

And what did Godin tell everyone in 2009?


Amazon and the Kindle have killed the bookstore. Why? Because people who buy 100 or 300 books a year are gone forever. The typical American buys just one book a year for pleasure. Those people are meaningless to a bookstore. It’s the heavy users that matter, and now officially, as 2009 ends, they have abandoned the bookstore. It’s over.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Previously here:

The State Of Reading In 2011
Bookstores Now Selling To The Rats


Filed under Digital Overthrow

2 responses to “W.H. Smith Says Seth Godin Was Right

  1. john

    great juxtaposition…..but the WH Smith article features the CEO saying that the crux of their business is not the heavy reader but the person who buys only 2-3 books per year, hence it’s not worried about ereading. i assume then that you’re juxtaposition is about bookstores in general, not WH Smith which seems to focus on a certain niche customer (travel) while bailing on the “high street” market (whatever that is….heavy street traffic, i guess? a la Borders?).

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