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Friday, October 15, 2010


The latest figures from the Association of American Publishers are quite startling.

Indeed, it is little wonder that has headlined the news that adult hardcover sales sagged 24.4% in August 2010. 

That is not all that is dire.  Paperback sales decreased 18.3% that month, while adult mass market sales plunged 21.9%.  Religious books were also down, but by the relatively insignificant figure of 0.4%.  More disturbing are August figures for children's reading, hardcover children's books being down by 8%
and children's/young adult paperback sales down 15.1%.  Remarkable, too, is that sales of hard-copy audio books decreased by 21.9% that month.

Yet the news is not all bad.  Book sales over all increased by 3.4% when compared with figures for August 2009, and year-to-date sales are up by 6.9%.  So what has bolstered the figures?

Textbook sales are partly responsible.  University press hardback sales were up 10.2% in August, while university press paperback increased by 15.7%.  The market for other professional tomes rose by 14.5%, which indicates that people still need real books if they want to learn.

Another factor is that downloaded audio books saw an increase of 4.6% over last August.  Not bad -- but that figure pales into utter insignificance when compared with the revelation that E-book sales increased by 172.4% when compared to August 2009. 
Looking at a wider range of dates produces an even more impressive figure.  E-book sales for January-August 2010 totaled $263 million, compared to $89.8 million over January-August 2009, an overall increase of 193%.
It is the increase that is so significant.  Year-to-date E-book sales comprise only 9.03% of total book sales -- but at the close of 2009 the figure was only 3.31%. 
Obviously, that percentage is going to soar, and the future for E-book sales is guaranteed to be dramatic.

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