BookStats 2012 Survey Finds eBooks Lead Adult Fiction Sales

WASHINGTON, DC—July 19, 2012—The eBook phenomenon continued in 2011 with eBooks ranking, for the first time, as the year’s top individual format for adult fiction; children’s/young adult titles showed the strongest performance among categories; brick-and-mortar stores remain the biggest sales channel; and direct-to-consumer saw strong growth according to BookStats 2012, the most comprehensive annual survey of the size and scope of the U.S. publishing industry.

BookStats, examining U.S. publishers’ annual net sales revenues and net units, is co-produced by the Assn. of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group.
The 2012 edition includes data provided by 1,977 publishers from all four industry sectors: trade (fiction and non-fiction for adults and children), school/K-12, higher education and professional/scholarly publishing.

The survey is available for purchase in three versions: as a customizable, interactive online dashboard; an executive summary providing major highlights; and a full in-depth report including each area’s granular data.

Among the key highlights that emerged in BookStats 2012:

• In the overall trade sector (encompassing fiction and non-fiction for children, young adults and adults), eBooks’ net sales revenue more than doubled in 2011 vs. 2010. This significant growth was particularly fueled by eBooks’ performance in the adult fiction segment where, for the first time, it ranked number one for the year in net revenue among all individual print and electronic formats.

• Among categories, both religion and children’s/young adults showed strong growth while children’s/YA ranked as the fastest-growing category in publishing in 2011.

• Despite the negative impact of Borders’ bankruptcy and closures, particularly on print book sales, through three quarters of 2011, the trade market held up equal with 2010 revenue figures, even showing a slight increase.

• Brick-and-mortar retail remains the top sales distribution channel for publishers in 2011, as it did in 2010. Publishers’ revenue from direct-to-consumer sales nearly doubled, topping $1 billion for the first time.

BookStats background
In 2010, two of U.S. publishing’s foremost professional organizations—Book Industry Study Group and the Assn. of American Publishers—came together to collaboratively design and produce a new kind of annual survey that would definitively capture the transformational changes in the industry from a 360 degree perspective. The first edition of BookStats was released in the summer of 2011 and quickly became recognized as a credible, substantive resource.

The cornerstone of BookStats’ methodology is its unprecedented breadth of publisher source data. The 1977 organizations that chose to participate represent the full spectrum of the US publishing industry: large, medium and small; major content companies to non-profits; and the entire scope of consumer, educational, professional and scholarly markets. Using a three-sided cube model, the data is analyzed based on categories, formats and sales distribution channels. The BookStats dashboard product brings the cube to life, enabling the user to examine each side through customizable filtering and cross tabs across the three dimensions.

All figures and quantities included in BookStats represent net publisher totals inclusive of discounts and credit for returns. BookStats does not reflect consumer pricing or purchases.

About AAP
The Assn. of American Publishers is the national trade association representing 300 premier US publishers of high-quality entertainment, education, professional and scholarly content, produced with the most current technology, reaching the world.

About BISG
The Book Industry Study Group is the leading U.S. book trade association for standardized best practices, research and education about publishing; its membership includes publishers, retailers, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and librarians.

Source: AAP/BISG.

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