Andrew AlbaneseWith Brexit looming over the London Book Fair a week ago, the watchword among publishers was “uncertainty.” A terror attack this week under the shadow of Big Ben has shaken the world and added a new level of concern about the future.

On Wednesday in the British capital, a lone terrorist killed four and injured dozens. Sadly, Londoners are no strangers to terrorist violence, yet the shock is always fresh at each new episode. And while the clouds of terrorism continue to hang over the world, life and commerce endeavors on.

At the London Book Fair, many talked up a renaissance in print book sales for the US. Yet te most recent audited numbers from the Association of American Publishers’ StatShot program, from October 2016, suggest that any resurgence in the U.S. is tenuous.

“AAP figures for last October showed adult trade book sales fell a whopping 13.1% over October 2015, led by a 24.1% drop in hardcover sales, the biggest trade format, as well as a 21.0% decline in mass market paperback,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.

“At the moment, sales for the 1,207 publishers that report to AAP are down for 2016 over 2015. And, for the first time in over a year, e-book sales for those same publishers actually ticked up slightly, just under three percent,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

“While we may not see the big monthly declines that we’ve been seeing for the past year going forward, it will be interesting to see whether those sales can start growing again,” Albanese says. “Frankly, they will need to grow because if publishers are betting on print and bookstores sales to carry them to growth, that’s a risky play, I believe.”

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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