January 7 – January 14, 2010 Edition

Book Sales Hold a Few Year-End Surprises

NEW YORK, NY/AUTHORLINK NEWS/01/06/10–Overall unit sales of books through December 20 totaled 724 million, a drop of only 3% compared to 2008, according to Nielsen BookScan (via which tracks the majority of book sales. Surprisingly, adult fiction rose slightly to 208 million units, a gain of about 1,000 units over the previous year. However, nonfiction titles were off 7% (227 million units) from the previous year.

Sales of adult fiction hardcover books rose 3% to 36 million units. Trade paperbacks in the category also grew to 79 million, an increase of 2% over the prior year.

When e-books are added into the figures, sales remained flat with 2008. E-books comprise between 1and 3% of the market.

Increases in the adult fiction category are attributed to the September publication of Dan Brown’s blockbuster thriller, The Lost Symbol, and to the price wars between Amazon, Wal-mart and Target.

BookScan does not include Wal-Mart in its survey, but it does track sales at Target, which took part in the price war.