Spielwarenmesse: Boosting book retail sales through fun and play

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Spiele als Zusatzsortiment im Buchhandel


Boosting book retail sales through fun and play

from Börsenblatt

A Conni game next to a plush Gruffalo beside a Raven The Little Rascal mini-puzzle, and the matching book for each: just what you’d expect to find in a child’s room. That’s why many booksellers automatically include games and toys in their offering – in confident anticipation of additional revenue.

Mayersche and its “Teddy & Co.” brand

Plush squirrel and children book

The German bookstore chain Mayersche Buchhandlung has made especially good progress in this regard: no other book retailer or bookstore chain puts as much effort into its game and toy business. The share of sales generated by the company in these segments was still below the ten-percent mark as of recently, but who knows: “Teddy & Co.”, the brand under which Mayersche consolidates all of its toy activities, is rapidly increasing its reach. The company converted further shop space last year to ensure a suitable offering for customers in every one of its 55 stores. Indeed, to a grand scale in eight of these – in Aachen, Bochum, Dortmund, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Essen, Cologne and Trier, the bookstore chain devotes 200 to 1,000 square metres to games and toys. Monika Kloss, who manages the segments centrally, states: “In many cities, Mayersche is often not only the largest bookstore, but also the largest toy seller in the area – many toy retailers have already moved away from top city centre locations.” If the bookstore chain soon completes its merger with Thalia, another big German bookstore chain, it might provide fresh impetus for the whole business segment: subject to the competition authorities approving the merger deal announced in January, a new book retailing giant will emerge – collectively, the two companies are currently in almost 290 locations across Germany.

More expertise, more sales

Special show Toys meet Books at Spielwarenmesse®

However, Mayersche and Thalia are not alone in their search for useful additions to their ranges – this is something that concerns everyone, including the countless smaller booksellers: just as it is a given for toy retailers to sell books nowadays, many bookshops offer toys and games. They know there are things they need to be aware of when it comes to these. Some are already investing in further training or attending seminars offered by manufacturers as well as the Spielwarenmesse toy fair in Nuremberg. Consequently, the organisers of the fair have been rolling out the red carpet for them for the last two years with its “Toys meet Books” offering: some 15 suppliers showcased a selection of their products in 2019 at the special show aimed at booksellers, located right behind the highly frequented Entrance Mitte, and a flyer listing the 150 potentially most important (international) exhibitors for them was produced. Booksellers were also offered practical presentations from expert speakers with whom they could subsequently book one-to-one speed coaching sessions. Christian Ulrich, Marketing Director for the Spielwarenmesse, is unequivocal: “This year we were especially pleased with the considerable increase in trade visitors from the German and European book trade in particular”, he emphasised. “More and more book retailers are recognising the appeal of including toys in their range as a means of generating lucrative additional sales.”

Book and action figure of Pettson and Findus

Among the booksellers who picked up ideas at the special show and from the presentations was Barbara Jansen, South-West Regional Representative at Buchwert. The association currently represents some 190 book retailers (at around 300 locations). It hopes to expand its day-to-day support to its members to include games and toys as well in the future. The tour of the trade fair and the presentations have again really encouraged Jansen to re-evaluate these topics for the association group. “Booksellers can benefit from offering toys, which have the potential to appeal to additional target groups”. The association intends to work more intensively on this in the near term. According to Jansen, Buchwert is currently in the process of producing a brochure for its members combining expertise on selling games and toys and hopes to also appeal to some of its partner publishers for the project, from Coppenrath through to Ravensburger.

Facts on the German book market

  • Sales in the book market as a whole in 2017: €9.13 billion
    of which in the retail book trade: €4.3 billion (approx. 47 percent)
  • Sales trend in the book trade in 2018: + 0.1 percent
  • Supply channels: Booksellers do purchase games and toys directly from manufacturers, but also frequently turn to wholesalers. These segments are now an integral part of the ranges offered by all book wholesalers in the industry.
  • Sales from games in the retail book trade: Media Control provided figures for this for the first time in early 2019 – a new departure. The market researchers put the sales volume for games at some €68.5 million annually. They did not include toys in their survey.

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