Which are you more likely to buy at a bookstore: books or merch? | The Tylt

Which are you more likely to buy at a bookstore: books or merch?

It may seem like a trick question, but think about it for a moment: When you walk into an adorable bookstore, are you more likely to walk away with the latest best-selling hardback or an enamel pin with your favorite author's face on it? Although customers love supporting independent bookstores, they often opt for cheaper merchandise items like candles, cards and more. Others are only in bookstores for one reason: to get this week's haul. How do you spend your money in bookstores?

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Which are you more likely to buy at a bookstore: books or merch?
A festive crown for the winner
#AlwaysBuyBooks
#LoveBookishMerch
Dataviz
Real-time Voting
Which are you more likely to buy at a bookstore: books or merch?
#AlwaysBuyBooks
#LoveBookishMerch
#LoveBookishMerch

Bookstore browsing presents an interesting conundrum. Contrary to popular belief, publishers decide the price printed on books, not bookstores themselves. For many, that means a bit of sticker-shock when they see a newly-released hardback on sale for roughly $30 or a paperback for $16. Thankfully, bookstores are all about options, and for some, that means opting for a pair of literary socks or a candle that smells like the Gryffindor common room. 

In times where all you can afford is a clever card, better to buy merchandise than nothing at all, right?

#AlwaysBuyBooks

But some say the obsession with bookish merchandise has gotten out of hand. Independent bookstores often stay open thanks to merchandise sales, rather than from their namesake item. In her explanation of the rise of literary merch and the reading "lifestyle brand," Mel Magazine's Amy Stephenson explains:

...some bookstores could be more accurately described as gift shops with a book section. Again, this isn’t *in itself* a bad thing, but if 1) bookselling is literally unsustainable as a practice; 2) people are willing to shell out $15 for an enamel pin but not for a paperback book; and 3) bookstores have to resort to crowdfunding just to keep the doors open (nevermind paying employees a living wage), we’re in a bad spot indeed.

As Stephenson explains, the mindset of buying at least something at a bookstore is not in itself bad, but when the majority of customers think this way, the consequences can be quite large. Stephenson's advice? 

 If you want a call to action, the best I can do is this: Buy books from bookstores, if you want them to keep being able to sell books. 

Want insight from an independent bookstore owner on the role bookstores can play in society? Check out "Tell Me Everything: A Day in the Life of a Bookshop Owner" below:

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Which are you more likely to buy at a bookstore: books or merch?
A festive crown for the winner
#AlwaysBuyBooks
#LoveBookishMerch