Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book stats confuse me

Reading Shelf Awareness yesterday - the lead from Mr. Mutter:

September bookstore sales jumped 7%, to $1.55 billion, compared to September 2010, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. For the year to date, bookstore sales have risen 2.8%, to $12.024 billion.

So far this year, bookstore sales have been erratic, falling in January, but then rising from February through May, and falling in June and July before rebounding in August and September.  
Note: under Census Bureau definitions, bookstore sales are of new books and do not include "electronic home shopping, mail-order, or direct sale" or used book sales.

It is a given that book sales statistics are notoriously unreliable and often misleading.  Still - considering the continued explosion of digital book sales are not included in these figures nor does it seem to include sales from the likes of Amazon or B&N on-line, it is encouraging.  I have had the pleasure of getting to know ABA President and owner of the well know Austin, TX store - Book People over this past fall.  Seeing him while he was in NYC last Monday he shared a copy of their new catalogue - My Favorite Book 2011, which is really terrific (you have to check it out - I challenge you not to find something you want to buy) - he shared that his store has done extremely well over the last 2 years.  How many retail businesses are thriving these days??  That explains the optimism I see heading into BEA for 2012.  I don't have a real point in here other than the book sales numbers aside from digital are consistently inconsistent.  I have come to the conclusion that there is one fact to hang onto - digital or paper - there are more people reading these days. 

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