Monday, February 16, 2015

For Books, Print Is Back

Unit sales of print books sold through outlets that
report to Nielsen BookScan rose 2.4% in 2014, with total units topping
635 million. The gain was driven by a 3.4% increase in unit sales
through the retail and club channel relative to 2013, which offset a
1.8% decline in sales through the mass merchandiser channel and others
during the same period. Units through retailers and clubs, which include
Amazon and all types of bookstores, rose to just under 519 million; in
2013, print units through the channel fell 2.5% compared to the previous

BookScan estimates that it captures
approximately 80% of print-unit sales made in the U.S. The company added
Walmart to its mass merchandiser panel in 2013, but was not able to
include historical data, making it difficult to track precise long-term
unit trends. Still, the 2014 figures are further evidence that print
books are selling better than they have since sales of e-books exploded
in 2010 and Borders closed its doors in 2011. Total print-unit sales
bottomed out in 2012, falling to 590 million, but in the two years since
then, units have risen 7.6% (helped to some degree by the addition of
Walmart to BookScan).

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