Book exports slipped 0.8% in the first six months of 2010, to $911.1 million, according to estimates released from the U.S. Commerce Department. The decline was due to shipments to a number of smaller markets as exports to America's top 15 book trading partners rose 3.5%. The largest increase in exports was to Mexico, driven by a huge gain in the demand for professional books. Exports to the U.K., America's third largest overseas market, fell 11.1% as demand in the U.K. for professional and religious books, textbooks, and hardcovers all fell. Exports to America's largest book market, Canada, rose 2.8%, led by demand for paperbacks. Exports to China had a solid increase, led by shipments of professional books.

Among the major book segments, exports of textbooks, professional books, and religious books declined, while exports of paperbacks and trade hardcovers increased. In addition to Canada, there was a significant increase in demand for paperbacks from Singapore and a much smaller increase in shipments to the U.K. Shipments to India and Japan led the higher demand for hardcovers. In addition to declining demand from the U.K., textbook exports also fell to Korea and Germany, while professional book exports had notable decline to the U.K., Canada, and Hong Kong.

While exports slipped, book imports rose 7% in the first half of 2010, to $842.7 million. Imports from China, which consist primarily of books manufactured in that country, increased 16.4% in the first six months of 2010, to just over $343 million. Imports from the U.K. rose 19.3%, to $112.4 million, making the U.K. the second largest source of books in the first six months of the year, ahead of Canada, from which imports fell 11.9%, to $104.7 million.

Book Exports. January–June ($ in millions)

Country 2009 2010 % Change
Canada $411.6 $423.1 2.8%
United Kingdom 144.8 128.8 -11.1
Australia 45.6 42.1 -8.1
Mexico 33.5 40.8 21.6
Japan 33.9 36.8 8.5
Singapore 25.8 26.7 3.7
Korea 20.2 19.3 -4.3
Germany 19.3 19.0 -0.2
India 12.0 13.8 15.6
China 9.8 11.1 13.8
Hong Kong 10.1 10.5 3.4
Philippines 10.6 10.4 -1.4
South Africa 9.1 10.2 12.3
United Arab Emirates 10.1 9.7 -4.3
Brazil 7.9 9.2 16.4
Subtotal 774.3 801.5 3.5
Total 918.8 911.1 -0.8