2006 Book Sales Remain Steady at $10 Billion
Annual book sales last year were right on par with those of the previous year, with more than $10 billion in net sales, according to figures released by the book industry’s largest trade association, the Association of American Publishers.
Overall trade sales in the United States saw a .02 percent year-over-year dip, or about $16.3 million less in 2006 compared with 2005 sales, the report stated.
Tina Jordan, vice president of the AAP, tells Book Business Extra she believes that the $10 billion sales is a healthy mark for the industry.
“The fact that the past few years that the numbers have stayed very, very steady and solid shows that the industry is at a very good health point,” she says. “The variables have stayed very consistent. ... For things to stay steady and for things to be strong without huge variables is a huge indicator of the health of the industry.”
The numbers are based on the actual revenue reporting of 82 participating book publishers that submitted figures to the AAP last year, Jordan says.
The children’s/young adult category showed the steepest year-over-year decline, with a 29 percent decrease from 2005 figures, when the best-selling “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” was released. Last year, no “Potter” titles were released.
“There are obviously different titles that come out in different years,” Jordan says. “It depends on what are the large blockbusters of a particular year over another particular year. In ‘05 there was a strong frontlist in children’s publishing. This past year, this fall in particular, there was a strong frontlist in adult titles.”
Although Jordan said she does not like to predict sales for the coming year, she says she is curious to see how religious publishing rebounds from last year. Sales reported by religious publishers decreased by 10 percent last year, according to the AAP.
If the figures for the last few years are any indicator, don’t expect to see a big jump or decrease in net sales for 2007, she says.
“The wins for the industry are incremental,” she says. “I think there is a general consensus on that. There are obviously extraordinary years with extraordinary titles.”