Strategically Speaking: Surviving Volatility
● Industry revenues across all product segments grew more than 5 percent from a 2008 base of $26.5 billion to $27.9 billion, an extraordinary achievement in the face of an otherwise challenged economy.
● During the same period, unit sales rose about 4 percent from a 2008 base of 2.47 billion units to end calendar year 2010 at 2.57 billion units.
● Net sales for trade hardcover books closed 2010 at $5.26 billion—growing a modest 0.9 percent over the study's three-year time span.
● Total net trade unit sales for 2010 were 603 million, representing a 5.8-percent increase from 2008. Despite these encouraging signs, hardcover books' share of the total trade market fell from a 2008 share of 39.6 percent to 37.7 percent in 2010.
● Net revenues for trade paperbacks closed 2010 at $5.27 billion, a 1.2-percent increase over 2008.
● Net units (in trade paperbacks) sold increased 2 percent during the three years reported, totaling 1.1 billion units in 2010.
● Like hardcovers, soft covers' share of the total trade market over the study period dropped in 2010 to 37.8 percent from 39.5 percent in 2008. ● Mass-market paperbacks were savaged by both the recession and e-books over the study period. Net sales for mass-market closed 2010 at $1.28 billion, plummeting 13.8 percent since 2008.
● Mass-market unit sales fell even more precipitously, nose diving to a 2010 close of 319 million units—down an unprecedented 16.8 percent from their 2008 base.
● As one might reasonably expect, mass-market paperbacks' market share fell from a 2008 base of 11.3 percent to 9.2 percent.
● E-books proved to be one of the industry's two shining stars. E-books grew from a paltry share of 0.6 percent of the trade market in 2008 to 6.4 percent by the close of 2010. While e-books represent a modest share of the total book market, the spectacular growth equates to 1,274.1 percent surge in net sales with total net sales closing 2010 at $878 million.