AAP Sees Holiday Book Sales Gains, Others Show Declines

January 21, 2010
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January 21 – January 28, 2010 Edition AAP Sees Holiday Book Sales Gains, Others Show Declines

NEW YORK, NY/AUTHORLINK NEWS/January 18, 2010—Book sales for the month of November 2009 increased by 10.9 per cent at $808.5 million and increased by 4.9 percent for the year, The Association of American Publishers (AAP) reports.

In surveying recent book sales reports, Authorlink.com is somewhat skeptical of the AAP increases considering reported losses at the nation’s two largest booksellers and a drop in unit sales. Barnes & Noble this month reported a 5% decrease in store sales over the nine-week holiday from November 1,2009 to January 2, 2010. And Borders Group reported a 13.7% decline for the 11-weeek holiday period ended January 16, 2010 (see Authorlink January 21News edition).  In addition, Nielsen BookScan this month reported a drop of 3% in overall unit sales of books through December 2009. Different reporting methods and periods can account for some, but not all, of the differences in numbers. A more detailed analysis from the AAP as to what sales channels are generating increases might be useful.

The AAP also reported that the Adult Hardcover category rose 26.9 percent in November with sales of $204.4 million; year-to-date sales rose 6.7 percent. Adult Paperback sales decreased by 3.0 percent for the month ($92.3 million) and were down by 4.8 percent for the year. The Adult Mass Market category declined by 9.8 percent for November with sales totaling $53.2 million; sales were down by 1.1 percent year-to-date. The Children’s/YA Hardcover category decreased by 13.5 percent for the month with sales of $63.9 million, but sales for year-to-date were up by 3.0 percent. The Children’s/YA Paperback category increased by 1.0 percent in November with sales totaling $43.9 million; sales were also up by 4.1 percent for the year.

Audio Book sales posted an increase of 6.9 percent in November with sales totaling $18.4 million; sales to-date decreased by 14.9 percent. E-books sales reached $18.3 million, reflecting a 199.9 percent jump for November and a 185.2 percent increase year to-date. Religious Books saw a 0.0% change for the month with sales of $48.7 million, although sales were down by 9.7 percent for the year.

Sales of University Press Hardcover books reflected a 21.9 percent increase in November with sales of $5.4 million; sales decreased by 4.2 percent for the year. University Press Paperback sales posted an increase of 2.7 percent for the month with sales totaling $4.2 million; sales were down 1.8 percent for the year. Sales in the Professional and Scholarly category were also up by 2.7 percent in November ($57.1 million) but decreased by 3.3 percent for the year.

Higher Education publishing sales rose by 24.2 percent for the month ($197.1 million) and increased 14.2 percent for the year. Finally, the net El-Hi (elementary/high school) basal and supplemental K-12 category posted an increase of 18.4 percent in November with sales of $136.9 million, but sales declined by 15.7 percent for the year. 

The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP’s more than 300 members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies.

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