Report: U.S. Publishers See Rapid Sales Growth Worldwide in Print and E-Formats
New York, NY and Washington DC; May 18, 2012 — In a new report produced by the Association of American Publishers and released today, US publishers in the Trade sector (fiction and non-fiction for adults and children) have seen significant sales increases worldwide in both print and e-format English-language books in the past year.
According to publishers who contributed 2010 and 2011 data to the report, factors for the recent growth include internet access to the full range of English-language titles, particularly those previously unavailable in many markets; the rise of eBooks globally and new readers; interest in US editions; and publishers’ strategic expansion in international sales, marketing and distribution.
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US publishers currently export, on average, 90% of their titles in print and/or e-formats and work with nearly 15,000 international retailers in 200 countries. More than 750 million people outside the US can read English.
Highlights of the report, analysis and a chart with all referenced data follow:
Total export sales
In 2011, US Trade publishers’ net sales revenue was $357.4 million* representing 71.9 million total units. This was a 7.2% increase over 2010’s $333.3 million and 0.9% over 71.3 total units.
Print and e-formats
Total eBook net sales revenue for 2011 was $21.5 million, a gain of 332.6% over 2010; this represents 3.4 million eBook units sold in 2011, up 303.3 %. As comparison, print formats (Hardcover, Paperback and Mass Market Paperback) increased 2.3% to $335.9 million in 2011.
The most rapidly-growing regions for US publishers include:
Continental Europe — 14.7% overall increase in revenue; 218.8% in eBooks, 9.5% in print
UK — 22.9% overall year-to-year increase in revenue; 1316.8% increase in eBooks, 10.4% in print
Latin America — 15.4% increase in revenue overall; 201.6% in eBooks and 9.7% in print
Africa — 21.9% total increase in revenue; that translated to 636.8% gain in eBooks and 17.1% in print
According to publishers, growth in print and e-format export sales has been complementary for several years and will continue to follow this pattern for the foreseeable future, with a considerable percentage of print format revenue coming from the international marketplace. Historically, foreign distributors — particularly those in non-English language countries — offered only 5-10% of US publishers’ English-language titles, mainly bestsellers and in print formats. Internet access, however, has brought the full slate of titles to consumers in these countries; this was followed by the international emergence of eBooks in 2009 and the most dramatic growth in that sector over the last 12 months.
Another reason for the growth comes from US Trade publishers actively expanding their global strategies. Over the past few years, publishers have reached deeper into the international consumer base through marketing and publicity, especially digitally and with social media; sales; and distribution. US publishers have established a strong presence across the world.
Finally, various factors were cited by publishers regarding the popularity of US titles. Often, the draw is the original US edition itself. Certain genres such as entertainment, US pop culture and American business topics have special appeal as well as children’s/young adult books in countries where English as a second language is important.
Data for this report was extrapolated from BookStats 2011 figures and supplemental data provided by major publishers and their distribution clients, presenting a total of 161 publishers. Participating publishers included Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, MIT, Penguin, Perseus, Random House, Simon & Schuster and W.W. Norton.
*Canada is excluded from all figures cited in this highlights summary release since its sales reporting status (whether it is included in domestic or foreign revenue) differs based on publisher. The full report, which has more comprehensive analysis and detailed data, includes Canada.