Wednesday, April 07, 2010

2009 U.S. Book Sales Numbers Are In

Daily Finance (AOL) reports some mixed numbers for 2009 book sales in the United States. Some categories are up (hardcovers and e-books) and others are down (trade and mass market paperbacks) but, overall, it was another down year for U.S. booksellers:
Total net book sales were reported to be $23.8 billion, down 1.8% from $24.9 billion in 2008 -- which itself was down 2.6% from the previous year. Overall sales of trade books -- the fiction and non-fiction books you know and love -- totaled $8.1 billion, a 1.8% drop from last year. However, adult hardcovers jumped 6.9% to $2.6 billion, helped in part by a little-known author named Dan Brown. (Just shoot me now.)

Trade paperbacks fared worse, falling 5.2% to $2.2 billion, and mass market paperbacks weren't so hot, dropping 4% to $1 billion.
E-books sales, however, were busting out all over. With month after month of exponential growth, it should surprise few that total 2009 sales were approximately $313 million, up 176.6% from 2008. And already in 2010, that growth curve is shooting up even more, as January sales alone were $31.9 million -- 10% of 2009's total, and a much higher proportion than the 3% to 4% of total book sales last year.
E-books are off to a great 2010 start and you do have to wonder how big an impact Apple's iPad is going to have on e-book sales for the rest of the year. Are we approaching a tipping-point year for e-book sales, the year when they total more than 50% of all books sold? Next year, the year after, five years from now? It's going to be interesting to watch this evolve.


  1. A hopeless optimist might point out that the overall revenue trend is positive - that is, less negative than the prior year was.

  2. That's much the same as when Congress claims to have cut costs only because they did not increase as much as in the prior year...and we actually pay those clowns a salary to steal from us.