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Thursday, 31 December 2009


*Publishing has been hit hard this year: There have been bookstore closings across the country, big layoffs at publishing houses, warnings that the business model can't survive, the looming challenge of e-readers such as the Kindle and e-books. Yet with numbers out that cover book sales for 2009 through Dec. 20, it appears that despite all this bad news, people still like to buy books. Neilsen BookScan, which reports on about 75% of industry sales, suggests that sales numbers could have been much worse. The area that did the best was the important category of adult fiction -- it has held steady since last year, with 208 million books sold. Taken on their own, sales of hardcover fiction were up 3%.

Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol," the long-awaited follow-up to the mega-bestseller "The DaVinci Code," was part of the good news. The novel was the year's top seller.

Paperbacks in fiction were mixed -- trade paperback sales were up by 2%, but mass-market paperbacks, which have been struggling, were down.

Overall, the year's tallies have book sales down about 3% overall. That's because adult nonfiction did not perform well -- sales were down by 7% since last year.

* Amazon have been boasting of their recent eBooks sales but Sarah Weinmen thinks it is all a smokescreen - For the past two years, Amazon has been exciting consumers and frustrating book industry types with its puffed-up press releases about the strength of Kindle and e-book sales. The level of self-congratulation appears to have reached a new high with the most recent release, which boldly claimed that the Kindle has become the most gifted item in the company's history FULL STORY


Chap O'Keefe said...

My understanding is that Amazon counts free books for its Kindle as "sales". Some reports suggest as many as six out of ten "sales" are of free books.

This may mean the hype is just part of a promotional campaign to establish the dominance of its e-book reader. At best, it could be just a bit of ridiculous fun, like its "bestseller" lists for Black Horse Westerns.

"Number One" on the UK Amazon's BHW Top Ten the other week was Vic Hanson's 1999 book Red Dawning. Amazon affiliates were offering copies of the out-of-print book, presumably library withdrawals, for one penny! I'm sure Vic, sadly no longer with us, would never have claimed the title as his best work, though it does have his trademark quaint narrative style and folksy characterizations. Amazon will produce the right "statistics" to prove anything that suits (or amuses?) them.

Rick said...

I forgot I found your blog (been hit in the head one too many times I suspect), and came across it again and just wanted to say thanks for all the helpful things you print.

Happy New Year to you, too!

PS, I'll try not to lose your blog again. Wait, okay if I add you on my blog to my favorite places?