Printed Books Reached Their Peak in 2007, According to New Study
PRIMIR study identifies key trends facing book markets: It will take years for e-books to penetrate all aspects of the traditional print book market, but the handwriting is on the wall.
[PRESS RELEASE] Reston, VA, JANUARY 11, 2010—According to a PRIMIR study entitled Trends in Books: 2008-2012, published in 2009, conventionally printed books reached the peak of their product life cycle with publishers' net sales of 3,127 million book units in 2007. In 2008, six major industry segments in the book industry accounted for 3.0 billion publisher net book copies valued at $35.7 billion. Printed books were headed toward a new record high in 2008 when the economic recession hit full force. PrintCom Consulting who conducted the research concludes that by the time the economy recovers, participants in the book publishing production chain will find themselves in a smaller, very different book industry.
The study provides a comprehensive review of each of the six major book segments. It reports that although factors differ among the various book segments, overall the health of the economy and the emerging e-book and/or digital substitutions for books will clearly have a negative impact on total printed book volume. The report indicates three clear-cut conclusions:
* Book content in its present paper form will continue to be a mainstay product through the 2009-2012 forecast period, but at reduced volume levels from the industry's recent history.
* Book content will morph from being primarily an ink-on-paper product to a multiple media product distributed through a variety of channels.
* Paper books and their key selling outlet, book stores, may have reached the pinnacle of their product life cycle and will emerge from the forecast period on the downside slope of the cycle.
Internet book sales, typically supported by a back-office print-on-demand model, as well as e book downloads will continue to take their toll on traditional booksellers. And, the e-book market is heating up, both in textbook and consumer markets. (In fact one of the hottest gifts this past holiday season was the e-book reader.)