Sales of the three adult trade segments had a steep decline in April, hurt no doubt by Borders and its going out of business sales. The major houses, who are among the publishers that report to AAP’s monthly sales report, were shipping selectively to Borders on a cash basis during the month and received no money generated by the GOB sales of existing inventory. As a result, sales of adult hardcover fell by 22.7% in April from the 19 companies that report to AAP, while trade paperback sales at 21 houses fell 25.4%. Sales of mass market paperback, for which Borders is an important outlet, plunged 41.6% for the 11 reporting houses. Sales in the children’s/YA segment rose 1.5% in April from 18 houses, but children’s/YA paperback sales declined 7.2%.
E-book sales had another strong month, with sales up 157.5%, to $72.8 million from 22 reporting companies. The increase, however, was not enough to offset declines in the print sector and as a result combined print and digital sales of trade books fell 10% at the reporting companies in the month.
For the first four months of the year, the sales decline was less severe. E-book sales were up 162.9% for the period, to $312.9 million, while print sales in the five trade segments were down 18.7%, leading to an overall decline of 4% in the first four months of 2011.