Sunday, July 10, 2011

10% Drop in pbook sales 1H2011

PW Blurb:

"Total unit sales of print books sold through the outlets whose sales are captured by Nielsen BookScan dropped 10.2% in the six month period ended July 3, falling to 307.1 million. Among categories, the biggest decline came in adult fiction with units off 25.7%, while mass market paperback had the steepest decline among formats with units down 26.6% in the period. BookScan totals cover about 75% of the outlets where print books are sold. For a more complete report, see Monday's issue of Publishers Weekly."

My latest charts support these numbers. But here is the deal... This isn't year one of the decline; it is year two. For MMPB, it is year #3 of the decline. So comparing YOY is a bit misleading.

I blogged before that MMPB is now below the necessary 'economies of scale' to survive as a form factor. :( I want pbooks to survive.

Besides fiction, so far ebooks have only 'gained traction' in IT related technical references and a few other non-fiction genres. But just as ebook adoption had certain genres as pathfinders, the same will be true of non-fiction. It is a question of what is the ideal hardware and some software updates (quicker access to the index and table of contents and better linking from those sources). Oh... and Search. I'm spoiled by the Chrome web browser's search. Amazon needs to improve the search on the Kindle; improvements that will probably require touchscreen.

Got Popcorn?


  1. Neil,

    The differences are more stark when you drill down further on those numbers.

    Adult trade fiction is down 25% year on year. That's huge.


  2. Dave,

    Yep. Very stark. As noted, this also isn't the 1st year of the decline. The comments a year ago on the various ebook blogs noted the decline of 2010 vs. 2009...

    MMPB is just getting beat up. :( Sigh... But those that love 'serial fiction' are the 1st group to demand more variety.


  3. Well,

    I've a non-fiction title out next month, the first time I've dipped my toe in that pool. So, I'll be doing my bit!