Sunday, August 14, 2011

Publishing industry grew 5.6 percent in last three years, not dying yet?


According to a BookStats survey and dissected in a recent NYT article, book publishing has increased markedly since 2008, perhaps dispelling the general notion that books are dying off.  I'm not so sure this data plainly shows that, but first let's look at some of the numbers.

Overall book sales, inclusive of e-books, increased 5.6% to $27.6 billion.  The total number of books sold increased too, thought not as much, increasing 4.1% to $2.57 billion.  The sale of e-books increased dramatically, expanding from 0.6% of the market in 2008 to 6.4% on 2010 on sales of 114 million books.  The only really negative statistic, likely as a result of e-book success, was in mass market paperbacks, which declined a whopping 16%.  Hardcover books, on the other hand, more or less kept pace with an increase of about 1%.  Higher education, trade books and professional publishing both saw gains as well, possibly as a result of a larger portion of the population looking to go back to school or looking for new jobs.

As a fan of the written word, I am happy to see growth in the industry, and more books sold is more books sold no matter how you slice it.  2008 is a dangerous year to compare anything to though on a percentage level, as it was the heart of the recession, and comparing anything to that will likely end up skewed.  But again, more books is more books, and this is good news for the publishing industry.

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