Book Buying By The Numbers

Andrew AlbaneseWhat’s black and white and read all over? A survey of consumer book-buying habit just out from the Nielsen Market Research. This week, the book world began poring over the findings, covering everything from shares of print and digital sales, to preferences for digital platforms.

The two most intriguing findings confirm suspicions that the drive to digital is slowing. “First, the e-books share of new book sales increased only slightly in 2014 over 2013” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.  “And the share of sales through online retailers and bookstore chains actually dipped.”

Recently, publishing pundits have trumpeted that the death of print is greatly exaggerated. Perhaps so, says Albanese, but the prognosis is mixed. “Print accounted for 70% of new book spending in 2014, and that is in fact a drop of seven percentage points from 2013. Reports that print sales are in fact on the rise are generally due only to authors named John Green, or Veronica Roth. Format-wise, the survey shows that the biggest print declines came in trade paperback and hardcover, while mass market paperbacks actually had a slight increase in their share of spending,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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