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Kingston Bookshop RightClick’s into new business line

Published:Wednesday | October 7, 2015 | 10:00 AMTameka Gordon

Kingston Bookshop has diversified into

electronic gadgets amid falling demand for its traditional books and stationery, the core of the business.

The 40-year-old-company added a new arm in August, called RightClick, through which it now sells mobile phones, tablets, selfie sticks and other electronic gadgets.

The idea is to eventually roll out the new offerings in areas where the bookstore itself does not currently have a presence, Sales and Marketing Manager Damani Johnson told Wednesday Business.

"What we have done is create a new division to help mitigate against the impact of technology on books. RightClick is a fully owned subsidiary of Kingston Bookshop, where we've brought in gadgets. It's a departure from our core business of books and stationery," Johnson said.

He said the company has been "forced to diversify into this area" to make up for declining sales revenue from books.

"Right now, we have a number of threats in terms of books - government policy, as well as the spending power of the market - so we have diversified our operation," the sales and marketing manager said, while noting that the Ministry of Education has cut its orders of books.

The company has spent "quite a bit of money to create a store within a store," he said, though declining to state the level of investment that has gone into setting up RightClick.

Other companies

By expanding into this line of business, the bookseller joins other companies that are trying to tap into the mobile device market to juice their turnover.

Just last month, LASCO Financial Services advised that it would be selling mobile devices on behalf of Chinese device-maker Huawei. Rival bookseller Sangster's Book Stores was ahead of Kingston Bookshop with the idea, having forayed into electronics more than a year ago in response, the company said, to customer demand.

"Persons would come in and ask, so it's to service the customers' needs - and it sells," a representative of the bookshop told Wednesday Business.

Sangster's offers electronics, including mobiles phones and tablets, in four of its outlets.

Kingston Bookshop, whose plans go much further than its rival's, expects a 20 per cent lift in revenue from the new division within another three years, according to Johnson.

The RightClick stores occupy 10 square feet of space in each of the six Kingston-based outlets. The physical layout of the Spanish Town, St Catherine, bookshop cannot accommodate the mobile cubicles just yet, but the bookseller is working on how to get it done.

Computer tablets priced in the region of $20,000, as well as mobile phones, are the fastest movers, Johnson said, adding that the company also services what it sells.

"Right now, RightClick is a section, bigger than a kiosk in the stores, but it's designed that within about six months, after everything is up, it will be on its own. Eventually, we will be taking it out of town," he said.

Montego Bay will likely see the first standalone RightClick store, he said. The rollout is expected to happen within another two years.

Kingston Bookshop itself distributes islandwide, but through other book dealers. As such, the upcoming RightClick locations outside of Kingston will all be standalone stores, as the company has no immediate plans to add other branches outside of its current network, Johnson said.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com