The number of bookstores has dropped by a quarter in ten years, and an average of three of these businesses have permanently closed their doors each week between 2016 and 2017, a Neutral Union for Independents (SNI) study reveals, based on FPS Economy data. In 2008, there were still 4,219 bookstores in Belgium, but only 3,095 in 2017. “Few commercial activities have been hit so hard these recent years,” Christine Mattheeuws, SNI President laments.
The independents’ organization imputes this decline to the growing digitization of the media scene, the popularity of online gambling, and the decline in the number of smokers who purchase their cigarettes.
Yet, SNI still thinks there is a future for this kind of business, especially as a withdrawal spot for online orders. Bookstores should then be given a decent compensation, the Union argues.