Will Books Go the Way of Music CDs?

June 16, 2011

by Stephen Blake Mettee, The Write Thought and IBPA board treasurer

According to a recent USA Today article, retailers such as Best Buy, Target, Barnes & Noble, and Wal-Mart are cutting back on their CD selections. A Best Buy spokesperson is quoted as saying, “As people buy less, we stock less.” Sounds like a self-fulfilling cycle to this observer, but, sadly, one that isn’t likely to be reversed.

There’s more bad news…

In 2010, CD sales fell 19% and are down 8.8% this year.

Pretty dire, huh?

But wait.

Downloaded albums sales are up a healthy 16.8% and downloaded tracks are up 9.6%.

Overall music sales are up 1.6%.

Yep, you read right, music sales are up.

Music isn’t going away. Albums aren’t going away. And according to Dave Bakula of Neilson, a company which tracks weekly sales statistics, “CDs are going to be around for a long time.”

So, to summarize what’s happening:

Downloads are growing, brick and mortar store sales are slipping, online sales of CDs are strong. Music is a growing industry.

(By the way CDs are enjoying the “long-tail” effect: Amazon.com offers 4,000,000 CDs. Great for lesser-known songsters.)

Should we look for the same things to happen in books?

Yes. The future is bright. Keep on writing and publishing.

Just a write thought.

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