German book trade: Thalia and Mayersche merge

For the two retailers, the merger is a strategic step to confront competition from online retailers. Jobs should not be eliminated.

The bookstores Thalia and Mayersche Buchhandlung want to merge. The merger of the market leader with the number four results in "the most important family-run retail book retailer in Europe", the companies said. The move is "a sign of the break-up of the global power of global online retailers and the inner-city reading culture," said Thhalia's majority shareholder Manuel Herder. The owner of the Mayerschen bookstore, Hartmut Falter, said: "We decided to take this step because we want to be strategically prepared for the future."

Whether the brand Mayersche bookstore is maintained in the long term, according to the parties has not yet decided. According to Thalia CEO Michael Busch, not a single bookstore will be shot as a result of the merger. The branch network complements itself very well. Also a job reduction should not exist. "There's a risk of losing skills when we're downsizing, and we do not want to risk that," Busch said.

The new company will not only have around 350 bookstores in German-speaking countries, but also several online shops. The Mayersche bookstore also sells books in more than 1,000 hypermarkets, hypermarkets, supermarkets and drugstores through the shop-in-shop provider Best-of-Books.

People read fewer books

The traditional book trade in Germany is currently facing two major challenges. On the one hand Amazon makes the stationary dealers the sales in dispute. For years no one in Germany sells more books than the US company.

That's not the only problem. Even fewer books are read than before. In the past five years alone, the industry lost around 6.4 million customers, according to data from the bookstore association. The number of books sold fell by 37 million to 367 million in the past ten years.

Given alliances are necessary, said Thalia CEO Michael Busch. Otherwise, classic bookstores will lose out in competition with international online retailers. The merger of Thalia and the Mayerschen was a real step here because both companies complemented each other perfectly. Thalia has more experience in online trading, the Mayersche have more know-how in the supply of new products such as toys and shop-in-shop business.