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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Do Free Books, Especially Free E-Books, Mean Lost Sales or New Sales?

Do free e-books
spur all book sales?
Believe it or not, independent booksellers, after taking some pretty hard knocks, are actually having a bit of a regrowth.

Digital booksellers, coupled with a consumer move to digital devices, caused many indie booksellers to fold ... along with some bigger chain booksellers as well --- such as Borders.

Strangely enough (but not if you really think about it), the failure of the Boarders chain is what started to help the smaller, indie booksellers to experience a resurge.

Hillel Italie, Associated Press, has some interesting insights:

Publishing industry gathers for annual convention

It could all change quickly, but independent booksellers again have good news to report as the publishing industry prepares for its annual national convention, BookExpo America.

Core membership of the American Booksellers Association rose by 55 over the past year, from 1,512 to 1,567. It's the third straight increase for the independents' trade organization after years of double digit and triple digit declines brought on by superstore chains and online sellers such as Amazon.com.

The independents have stabilized even as the economy suffers and the market shifts dramatically from physical stores to digital purchases. The Borders superstore chain shut down a year ago and Barnes & Noble Inc. has been increasingly emphasizing its Nook e-reading device.

Borders' fall, of course, has been part of the independents' good fortune, association CEO Oren Teicher acknowledged in a recent interview. But he also cited a nationwide movement to buy from local stores, falling real estate prices and lower costs to create and maintain websites. Sales figures for 2012 are encouraging as Teicher shared statistics compiled by Nielsen BookScan, which tracks around 75 percent of print sales. The number of books sold through mid-May by around 500 ABA stores increased by 13.4 percent compared to last year.

"We are more than holding our own," Teicher says.

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