The weakening of the dollar against a number of major foreign currencies did not have a dramatic impact on book exports and imports in 2003. Exports rose 0.7% last year, to $1.69 billion, according to statistics from the U.S. Commerce Department. Imports, which include U.S. titles printed abroad, increased 5.7%, to $1.77 billion.
In general, exports to English-speaking countries had the best gains in the year, led by exports to Australia, which increased 7.4%, to $76.1 million. Exports to Canada, America's largest export book market, rose 4.6%, to $776.4 million, while shipments to the U.K. inched up 1.5%, to $274.6 million. The largest increase in exports among the country's major export markets was to China, where exports rose 32%, to $15.5 million. The largest decline in exports was to Hong Kong, where exports fell 39.1%, to $19.2 million. Exports were down to a number of Asian countries, including Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.
By category, trade books fared best in the year, with exports of paperbacks rising 26.4%, to $208.8 million, and hardcover exports increasing 3.3%, to $114.1 million. Most other major segments had declines in the year, with exports of textbooks off 6.7%, to $355.1 million, and exports of professional books down 1.4%, to $371.1 million. In the "other" segment, exports moved up 0.2%, to $484.9 million.
In terms of imports, China, which became the largest source of manufactured books in 2002, strengthened its lead in 2003. Books imported from China increased 22% last year, to $413.1 million. Over the last five years—as more manufacturing moved to China—the amount of books imported from there rose 190%, far surpassing the 23% increase in the total value of book imports during that span. Imports from the U.K. rose 7.5% in 2003, to $288 million, while imports from Canada increased 9.5%, to $275 million. The largest decline in imports was from Hong Kong, where imports fell 15.1%, to $189.8 million.
|U.S. Book Exports, 2002—2003 |
($ in millions)
|Total, Top 15 Countries||1,492.9||1,518.7||1.7|
| Source: U.S. Commerce Department |