Summary:

One positive story in a week of terrible economic news: BookStats, a new annual statistical survey of raw sales revenue and unit data provid…

Kindle commercial, "The Book Lives On"
photo: Amazon

One positive story in a week of terrible economic news: BookStats, a new annual statistical survey of raw sales revenue and unit data provided by nearly 2,000 publishers that is being released today, shows a lot of bright spots for the U.S. book publishing industry. Book sales are expanding, not shrinking. Between 2008 and 2010, total revenues and sale units grew for the publishing industry as a whole, while e-book revenue for trade publishers increased by 1274 percent year on year. And the data does not even account for the e-book sales surge in 2011.

Some other findings from the survey:

E-books:
–E-books made up 6.4 percent of the trade book market in 2010, with a greater percentage expected in 2011. That’s up from 0.6 percent of the trade market in 2008
–E-book net revenue increased by 1274.1 percent between 2008 and 2010, to $878 million. E-book net sales increased by 1039.6 percent between 2008 and 2010, to 114 million.
–E-books now account for 13.6 percent of revenue from adult fiction.

Online retail:
–Between 2008 and 2010, as many customers have transitioned to shopping online and e-books sales have grown exponentially, online retail has become a major segment for book publishers. Publishers reported that their net sales revenue for content sold directly to online channels was $2.82 billion in 2010–growth of 55.2 percent over three years (an 18.8 percent increase between 2008 and 2009, accelerating to a 30.7 percent increase between 2009 and 2010.)
–Publishers’ net unit sales for content sold online grew by 68.6 percent between 2008 and 2010. Total net unit sales hit 276 million in 2010.

Trade books:
–Overall net sales revenue for trade book publishers increased by 5.8 percent between 2008 and 2010, with revenue for 2010 hitting $13.94 billion. Net unit sales increased by 4.5 percent during the period, to 2.26 billion units sold in 2010.and 2010, with net revenue increasing by 9.7 percent for the period and net unit sales increasing by 3.5 percent. Adult nonfiction sales grew by 3.5 percent.
–Kids’ books net sales grew by 7.1 percent during the period, with net unit sales up by 12.1 percent.

Higher education:
–A big success story: Higher education net sales revenue grew by 23.1 percent between 2008 and 2010, with net revenue in 2010 at $4.55 billion.

BookStats is published jointly by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group. (In the past, the groups conducted separate annual surveys.) The report is the most comprehensive look at the U.S. book publishing industry to date, incorporating net sales revenue and unit data reported by almost 2,000 U.S. publishers. The report tracks sales and units by format (physical, digital, bundles); category; and channel. I should note that 2011 has been a year of major e-book growth, and it’s frustrating not to see 2011 stats included here, but hopefully BookStats will continue to release data throughout this year.

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