SEOUL, March 29 (Korea Bizwire) – A group of 76 small and medium-sized bookstores are ready to open a portal online service to provide various information on books and bookstores as they are struggling to find a way out from financial difficulties, according to publishing industry sources on Tuesday.
The Korea Federation of Bookstore Association (KFBA) is currently test-running the online portal (www.booktown.or.kr) for neighborhood bookstores before its formal opening on April 27, according to the sources.
Over the past few years, small and medium-sized independent bookstores have been suffering from a decrease in the book-reading population and the emergence of mammoth franchise bookshops. The number of independent bookstores across the country has been on a steady decline every year as a result.’
The portal site will be launched as an affiliation of 76 medium- or small-sized bookstores across the country, and exclude major franchises or online bookshops such as Kyobo Book Center, Yes24 and Aladin.
It will provide various kinds of information on local bookstores and connect the point of sale systems (POS) for all the shops. POS is used to help monitor sales transactions and product inventory levels at retail businesses.
The portal will help customers easily find nearby bookstores where they can buy the books they want to read, said the sources. For example, a user can search for the title of a specific book on the site’s main page, and it will generate a list of nearby bookstores with the book in stock, their locations, homepages and other information.
Bookstores will also be able to confirm real-time inventory and sales through the portal website.
The KFBA said it plans to offer a special service tailored to local bookstores by expanding the affiliation with book publishers.
Industry sources expect the opening of portal will help reinforce the competitiveness of local bookstores and improve their business management efficiency.
An official from the Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea, which assisted with the establishment of the portal site, said that the number of bookstores wishing to participate is expected to increase to 200 by the end of this year.