Decline in US print book sales offset by rise in e

Sales of print books tracked by Nielsen BookScan in the US fell by 4.4% in the year to 26th December 2010, a shortfall which US site Publishers Marketplace reckons will have been made up by growth in e-book sales, which are not yet tracked by this Nielsen measure.

Unlike the UK, Nielsen does not show the value of those sales, but the data found that the US trade sold 702 million books over the 51-week period. Publishers Marketplace reports: "With ebook sales at the major reporting houses rising from roughly 3% a year ago to approximately 9% or more in dollars (and likely even more by units) by the end of this year it's likely that the decline in print sales was more than outpaced by the gain in ebook sales."

Traditional booksellers lost marketshare over the year to a category defined by Nielsen as "discount & others", with the former shrinking by 12.3% and the latter rising by 11.5%.

Hardback sales were almost flat, declining by less than 1.4%, while trade paperbacks fell 2.9%, with the biggest impact in mass market paperbacks, which fell 13%. PM notes that the small decline in hardback sales would be welcomed by those publishers concerned about encroaching e-book sales, while the fall in mass market paperback sales disproportionately impacted by the closure of "hundreds of mall-based stores" by the likes of Barnes & Noble, and Borders.