Thursday, February 24, 2011

US Book Sales Up in 2010

According to the Association of American PublishersOpens in a new window (AAP), U.S. publishers' book sales across all platforms increased 2.4 percent in December 2010 versus December 2009 ($1.58 billion versus $1.54 billion), and 3.6 percent for all of 2010 versus 2009 ($11.67 billion versus $11.25 billion). Virtually every book publishing category showed growth in one or both comparisons, with e-books continuing to post triple-digit percentage gains.

"As more formats have evolved and are served by the publishing community, consumers have more choices. These strong sales numbers reflect the efforts of AAP publishers and the response of book audiences," says Tom Allen , AAP's president and CEO.
Among the sales highlights reported by the AAP:
  • E-books grew 164.8 percent in December 2010 versus December 2009 ($49.5 million versus $18.7 million). In the AAP's ninth year of tracking this category, e-books once again increased significantly on an annual basis, up 164.4 percent for 2010 versus 2009 ($441.3 million versus $166.9 million). E-book sales represented 8.32 percent of the trade book market in 2010 versus 3.2 percent the previous year.
  • Books on other digital platforms also experienced healthy sales growth. For December 2010, downloaded audiobooks increased 56.7 percent to $8.9 million, and physical audiobooks increased 34.5 percent to $15.8 million. For the calendar year, downloaded audiobooks sales rose by 38.8 percent to $81.9 million (versus $59 million in 2009), while physical audiobooks fell 6.3 percent, at $137.3 million for 2010 versus $146.5 million for the previous year.
  • Children's book categories saw higher sales in December 2010 versus December 2009: Children's/young adults paperbacks were up 4.5 percent (to $48.9 million) and hardcover children's/young adults grew 0.2 percent (to $59.7 million). 2010-versus-2009 children's books sales decreased somewhat; paperbacks decreased 5.7 percent (to $546.6 million) and hardcovers declined 9.5 percent (to $694.3 million).
  • All three adult-book categories also showed gains versus December 2009: Adult hardcover was up 23.1 percent (to $148.2 million), adult paperback grew by 4.5 percent (to $127.6 million) and adult mass market rose by 14.6 percent (to $57.1 million). The categories fell slightly for 2010 versus calendar-year 2009 with hardbacks sales at $1.57 billion versus $1.65 billion in 2009 (a 5.1-percent decline); paperbacks reaching $1.38 billion versus $1.41 billion in 2009 (a decrease of 2 percent) and mass market at $673.5 million for 2010 versus $718.9 million (down 6.3 percent).
  • Educational book sales saw full year-to-year increases: Higher education grew 7.8 percent in 2010 (to $4.58 billion) and K-12 elementary/high school (el/hi) posted a 3.2-percent gain (to $3.59 billion). K-12 el/hi also hit a 1.4-percent increase for December 2010 (to $147 million) while higher education reached $890.2 million for December (down 3.6 percent).
  • Sales of university press hardcover books decreased 8.2 percent in December (to $6 million) with a 0.5-percent decline for 2010 ($57.8 million). University press paperbacks grew in 2010 by 1.3 percent (to $61.6 million) and fell 2.5 percent for December ($8.9 million).
  • Professional books sales increased 5 percent for 2010 over 2009 (to $812.9 million); for December, they fell 3.5 percent (to $108.9 million).
  • Religious books showed a 0.5-percent decline for 2010 versus 2009 (at $585.4 million) and a 11.8-percent decline for December ($49.9 million).
*From an article in Book Business

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

E-book Sales Up 164% as Other Trade Segments Fall

E-book sales jumped 164.4% in 2010, to $441.3 million, at the 14 publishers who report sales to the Association of American Publishers monthly sales program. Sales in December rose almost exactly the same amount, 164.8%, to $49.5 million. Sales in all other trade segments fell in the year with the exception of downloadable audio which had a 38.8% gain to $81.9 million. 
Sales in adult hardcover fell by 5.1% at the 17 reporting publishers, while trade paper declined 2% at the 19 houses that report.Mass market paperback sales fell 6.3% at the nine paperback houses; in children's hardcover sales decline 9.5% and paperback 5.7%. Fourteen publishers reported sales to AAP.

*From PW Daily 

Borders Pulls the Trigger on Chapter 11

After a drawn out process that began at the end of last year when it missed payments to top publishers, Borders Group has given in to the inevitable and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The company has received $505 million in debtor-in possession financing led by GE Capital, Restructuring Finance. And as part of its turnaround plan, Borders said it will close approximately 30% of its current store base, about 200 locations, within the next several weeks.

“It has become increasingly clear that in light of the environment of curtailed customer spending, our ongoing discussions with publishers and other vendor related parties, and the company’s lack of liquidity, Borders Group does not have the capital resources it needs to be a viable competitor and which are essential for it to move forward with its business strategy to reposition itself successfully for the long term.,” said Borders president Mike Edwards in a statement explaining the decision to file for Chapter 11. “This decisive action will give Borders the opportunity to achieve a proper infusion of capital in order to have the opportunity to have the time to reorganize in order to reposition itself to be a successful business for the long term,” said Edwards.

According to Borders, the financing should enable the company to operate the stores that will remain open in a “normal course”  including honoring its Borders Rewards program, gift cards, and other customer programs. Additionally, the company said it expects to make payroll and continue its benefits programs for its employees.

The announcement made this morning was foreshadowed last night when Borders implemented an ordering freeze and Ingram, its lifeline to the publishers, stopped shipping books. Publishers are now on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars, led by Penguin Group (USA) which is owed $41.1 million, followed by Hachette at $36.9 million, Simon & Schuster at $33.8 million, Random House at $33.5 million, and HarperCollins at $25.8 million. Neither major book distributor, Ingram or Baker & Taylor, were among the leading creditors, and only one book distributor, National Book Network, is owed money with $2 million outstanding. The top 30 unsecured creditors are owed $314 million. The filing listed $1.27 billion in assets and $1.29 billion in liabilities. Borders said it expects to be able to pay vendors for merchandise shipped to it after today’s filing; those owed money prior to the filing will only be paid with the approval of the bankruptcy court.

Although it will close 30% of its stores, Borders said it plans to remain “a national presence,” and that in addition to its bricks-and-mortar stores it will continue to operate its online bookstore and its e-bookstore.
Completion of the company’s DIP financing arrangements is subject to approval of the bankruptcy court and the satisfaction of certain conditions provided in the financing commitments received by the company from the lenders providing such financing.  To oversee the reorganization, Ken Hiltz has been named v-p, restructuring of the company.

Additional information about the reorganization is available at

* From a story in PW Daily by Jim Milliot and Judith Rosen

Thanks to everyone who entered our Mystery Times Ten Competition!

Our Spring/Summer 2011 Young Adult Showcase titled Mystery Times Ten sought new mystery short stories targeted for the YA audience.

Our Judging Panels are hard at work reading, reading, reading! Winners will be announced here and on our website in April. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Kid + Igloo + Book

Here’s a new take on curling up with a favorite book on a snowy day: build an igloo. I love this picture beyond reckoning. It’s a fourth-grader happily nestled in a snow fort, reading Barbara O’Connor’s delightful How to Steal a Dog, oblivious to the outside world. (The reader’s mom sent the photo to Ms. O’Connor after a school author visit.)
Isn’t that what a great book does? Absorb you so deeply you aren’t aware of anything around you but the world of the story? Susan Cooper captured that absorption perfectly in Dreams and Wishes: Essays on Writing for Children (p. 24, if you want to know):
Watch the child reading a book: really reading, totally caught up in the world into which the words on the page have transported him…. He is sprawled or curled or propped in some inelegant position, face concentrated and intent, motionless; he isn’t with you any more. He doesn’t hear you when you call; he doesn’t notice that the sun has set and that he should turn on the light. He’s away out there with the author, in wonderland.

Fourth-grader, cozy in igloo, reads Barbara O'Connor's HOW TO STEAL A DOG. Photo credit: Katarina Krek.

*From an article in PW Shelftalker