Total book sales fell 2.5% in 2011, to $27.2 billion, according to the latest figures released by BookStats. Revenue was down in three of the four major segments measured by BookStats—k–12, higher education, and professional/scholarly—and up slightly in trade.
Within the trade category, the juvenile fiction segment had the strongest performance in 2011, with sales up 11.9%, to $2.78 billion. The increase was led by a huge jump in e-book sales, which rose 378.3%, to $220.3 million, and a solid performance in the hardcover format, where sales rose 14.8%, to $1.29 billion. Sales in juvenile nonfiction fell 2.1% in the year as a 223.9% increase in e-book sales was offset by a 3.3% drop in trade paperback sales. Still, the combination of fiction and nonfiction sales made the juvenile category the fastest-growing segment last year with total sales up 9.4%, to $3.30 billion.
Total adult sales fell 2.6% in the year, to $9.21 billion. Sales of fiction declined the most, off 6.1% in the year, to $4.29 billion, while nonfiction sales dipped 0.6%, to $4.92 billion. Although sales of fiction e-books soared in 2011 to just under $1.3 billion, sales in the print segments declined, with mass market paperbacks and hardcovers particularly hard hit, with sales off 31.8% and 23.1%, respectively. The decline in fiction was due to higher sales of lower-priced e-books, as well as a drop in units, which fell 6.5% in the year. The less severe decline in nonfiction sales was due in part to a drop of less than 1% in units, and while e-book sales rose 136.4%, to $468.2 million, the declines in the major print formats were much smaller compared to fiction: hardcover sales fell 5.9%, and trade paperback sales were off 3.8%.
The religion segment, which BookStats classifies as trade, had a good 2011, with total sales up 7.3%, to $1.45 billion. The segment benefited from a 136% increase in e-book sales as well as a 14.5% increase in hardcover sales. Unit sales in the segment jumped 37%, helped by the huge success of Heaven Is for Real.
Overall, sales in the trade segment rose 0.5%, to $13.97 billion. In a period when there is more emphasis on how formats are faring rather than what categories are doing best, e-books had a stellar year, with sales in the trade segment jumping to $2.07 billion from $869 million. Sales in all the major print segments were down in 2011, with mass market paperbacks the hardest hit, with sales down 31.8%. Sales of trade paperbacks declined 6.5% and hardcover sales dropped 3.4%.
The impact of e-books on where trade books are bought is seen in the 35% growth by online retailers in 2011. Their ability to sell both print and digital titles drove sales through online retailers to more than $5 billion last year. Sales through all bricks-and-mortar stores fell 12.6% last year for trade publishers, to $8.59 billion. Sales to institutional accounts—libraries, business, government, schools—represented 20% of sales, or $5.39 billion. BookStats also reported that direct-to-consumer sales for trade houses rose about 57% last year, to $1.1 billion.
This is the second year that the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group have collaborated to produce BookStats. This year’s figures are based on sales of about $16.7 billion from reporting publishers. The full report is available from either AAP or BISG.
Trade Sales 2010–2011 (in millions)
|Mass Market Paperback||88.9||54.9||-38.2|
|Mass Market Paperback||1,489.9||1,015.7||-31.8|
|Mass Market Paperback||28.6||23.6||-17.5|
|Mass Market Paperback||5.1||6.0||17.6|
|Mass Market Paperback||13.8||8.1||-41.3|