Over three million books were published in the US in 2010 ( from available Bowker reports 2011). In addtion hundreds of thousands of English-language books are published each year outside the US. Book industry sales are declining and adult nonfiction print unit book sales peaked in 2007 and have declined each year since then ( Publishers Weekly Jan.12 2012) Similiarly, bookstore sales peaked in 2007 and have fallen each year since then. ( Publishers Weekly Feb. 14 2012).
Despite skyrocketing e-book sales, overall book sales are still shrinking. For the full year of 2011, a 17.1% decline in print book sales outweighed a 117.3% increase in e-book sales, resulting in a 5.8% decline in combined print and e-book sales.(Publishers Weekly March 5, 2012) Similiarly, combined print and e-book sales of adult trade books fell by 14 million units in 2010. (BISG Bookstats Report)
Combine the explosion of books published with the declining total sales and you get shrinking sales of each new title.
The average US nonfiction book is now selling less than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 copies over its lifetime.
Only 62 of 1,000 business books released in 2009 sold more than 5,000 copies. ( New York Times March 31, 2010)
A book has less than a 1% chance of being stocked in an average bookstore. For every available bookstore shelf space, there are 100 to 1,000 or more titles competing for that shelf space. The number of business titles stocked ranges froom less than 100 to 1,500 given the size of the store. There are over 250,000 business books in print trying for a place ont that shelf.
In response to the saturation of the market books are now being written in a very different way. The main ideas are front loaded as people often do not finish the books and as many as 68% of self-help books purchased are never read.
People are reading books that their communities make important. There is no longer a general audience.
Majority of books that are purchased are passed along to someone else to read. Authors are also quided to keep it short and sweet.
In highly competitive field Twas The NIght Before Christmas which was written in 1822 still garners the top spot on the New York Times Best Seller List in the Children's category in 2011. It made it on the list 36 weeks out of 52 in 2011.
Another strategy for standing out in this highly competitive field is to have a brand that stands out and to build books around big new ideas and are important to your community. By removing the smoking pipe imagery and verse we hope we have met the market.
Tags: new york times publishing book sales