Director’s Desk:
Book Sales Figures Today & Tomorrow

June 2002
by Jan Nathan

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According to an e-mail I just received from the market research firm Ipsos-NPD, book sales in 2001 were up 2% and bookstores and “value” channels fared the best.

Ipsos-NPD bases its report on a survey of 12,000 households that are supposed to represent the population nationwide. That survey found that consumers spent $12.8 billion on print books in 2001 and that books purchased for adults (people 18 or older) accounted for more than two-thirds of all books bought. Books purchased for children under 14 accounted for 29% of the total, and the 14- to 17-year-old market was responsible for 2%. With the Harry Potter phenomenon, I think that last figure is a little on the low side.

Where and how do people purchase books? According to this survey, 32.8% of book purchases occur at bookstores; 23.8% are made via book clubs, mail order, and/or book fairs; 9% through mass merchandisers; 7.8% through discount/variety stores; 5.5% on the Internet; 5.7% at warehouse clubs; 3% at food/drug stores; 2.2% at used bookstores; and 9.3% at “other.”

The interesting numbers here, I think, are for the Internet (just 5.5% is hard to believe) and for the used bookstores (2.2%). Now if Amazon.com continues to resell used books right next to our frontlist titles, I think that both these numbers will change. And I find it amazing that the Internet hasn’t had as much an impact on the industry as we all assumed. It’s still the bookstore that reigns supre…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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