Sales of print books in Canada slipped in the third quarter of 2012 from the same quarter last year, according to the latest figures from BookNet Canada. The market was down overall by 9.5% in unit sales and by 6.4% in dollar value for the July to September quarter.
BookNet does not track e-book sales yet, which CEO Noah Genner says do account for a significant portion of the decline. Results of a BookNet survey of book Canadian book buyers released in October showed that 16% of book purchases in the first half of 2012 were e-books.
“I think that there’s a dual shift happening,” Genner told PW. “I think that there’s more shift happening to online for physical sales, and then there’s also the shift from physical to digital – [it’s] growing in both cases.” BookNet’s consumer data indicates that almost 35% of all book sales in Canada are online, he noted.
Within the new numbers for print sales, nonfiction saw the biggest drop, declining 12.4% in unit sales and 13% in dollar value. Genner attributed part of that to the “huge lift” that sales of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs (Simon & Schuster) gave the category in the same quarter in 2011.
Fiction was the healthiest category, dropping 7.1% in unit sales but only 0.3% in dollars. Sales of juvenile books declined 10.1% in units sold and 6% in dollars.
BookNet’s sales data is based on reports from a fixed panel of 665 retail locations across Canada.