Erotica sales surge, but markets continue to fall

Erotica sales surge, but markets continue to fall

Fifty Shades of Grey has sold more than 28 million physical copies around the world, though general print sales continue to suffer, according to figures released by Nielsen.

In a talk yesterday (11th October) at Frankfurt Book Fair, Ann Betts, Nielsen Book’s commercial director, explained the impact E L James’ books had had on the industry. In the UK, the romance market, which includes the Fifty Shades trilogy, has risen by 384% by volume in the first 36 weeks of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. Erotica sales, following in the wake of Fifty Shades, has leapt up 192%.

However, despite the impact of erotica, print book sales in the nine markets monitored by Nielsen have fallen in 2012 over the same period a year ago.

New Zealand could claim to be weathering the storm best, with a 2.7% decline in print volume sales, while the USA saw the greatest decline (-13%). Children’s books fared slightly better than fiction and non-fiction across all markets. Betts said: “People still want to buy books for the children. The other issue is that there are fewer children’s books available digitally.”

E-book sales have been rising, with Betts estimating they now account for around 15% of all book sales, with a 366% rise in sales in the UK making them the greatest books growth product.

Nielsen began monitoring India in 2011, and witnessed the sale of 12.6 million units throughout the year, with all areas in growth. Betts pointed out how successful locally published titles were, with 66 of the top 100 published in India, 33 from the UK and 3 from the USA.  

One of the quirks of the Indian market is its entrepreneurial spirit, with 16% of all non-fiction titles being business books. In the USA, only 7% are business titles, while the UK lags behind with 3%.