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Saturday, December 31, 2011

How About Some Final Stats for 2011 Publishing

Print or Digital, books are still books
My last post was on some publishing trends for 2012.

Let's now take a look into some final analytical numbers for 2011 publishing ... What the hell is the state of the union RE publishing, anyway?

The following is a cross post from my Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue Blog:

Did the Book Industry Take it on the Chin in 2011? Inside Some Numbers


It’s really hard to tell by the analytical parameters that the old book industry trackers (such as Nielsen BookScan) has set up to take the measurements. BookScan doesn’t even track e-books yet! What the hell are they waiting for? You have to get e-book numbers through other sources such as the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

Let me say now that books are books … regardless of the media they are presented in. And they should be included in any analysis of the overall health of the book publishing industry.

But, this bit of industry analytical dabbling in the following article from Crain’s New York Business by Matthew Flamm does provide an interesting insight:

No happy ending for book industry

Book sales in 2011 dropped 9% overall, with mass market paperbacks seeing the biggest declines. Adult hardcovers—the industry’s biggest moneymaker—saw a 10% drop.

The book industry took it on the chin in 2011, though e-book sales continue to offer the promise of better times to come.

Through Dec. 25, total unit sales of physical books fell 9% to 640.6 million, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks 75% of the market. That compares to a drop of 4% in 2010, and 3% in 2009.

Some categories were hit particularly hard. Sales of mass market paperbacks, a category that has been hurting for years, fell 23% to 82.2 million copies. More troubling, perhaps, was the 10% drop, to 164.1 million units, in the adult hardcover category, which is the industry’s biggest moneymaker. Trade paperbacks proved the most resilient of the major formats, with a 6% sales decline, to 351 million copies.

Among subject groups, adult fiction suffered the most, with an 18% plunge to sales of 160.3 million copies. Commercial fiction tends to sell particularly well as e-books. Adult non-fiction was down 10%, to 263 million copies.

(John’s Note: By the way, how many know the definitions of (or differences between) the following categories: adult fiction, commercial fiction, mass market paperbacks, trade paperbacks, adult hardcover?)

Read and learn more


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