Publishers' sales decline in first half despite 'encouraging' hardback exports

Publishers' sales decline in first half despite 'encouraging' hardback exports

<p>Publishers sales fell in the first half of 2010 as growth in the value of exports and an &quot;encouraging&quot; rise in hardback sales helped offset a decline in home sales.</p><p>The Publishers Association figures, which represent roughly 76% of the industry, showed a decline of 3.8% in the value of home sales, from &pound;576m to &pound;555m, meaning that conditions appear to have worsened since the first quarter when the PA reported that home sales dropped 3.3%. The number of books sold fell by 6.8% from 171m, over the same period in 2009, to 159m units&mdash;a reversal of the trend seen in the first quarter when home volume sales actually rose.</p><p>Export sales, which have helped sustain the market during the continuing difficult economic period, rose 2.5% from &pound;445m to &pound;456m, though export volume sales decreased by 3.2%, from 124m to 120m. These are slightly better figures than those reported in the first quarter when export value sales rose 2.4% on a 4.5% volume decline. </p><p>Overall, the value of publishers&#39; sales from January to end-June fell 1% from &pound;1.021bn to &pound;1.011bn, a decline of just under 1% a figure roughly in line with the first quarter. But the numbers are worse than this time last year when UK publishers saw their first-half sales decrease by 0.5%, with home sales down 4.3% and exports up by 5.1% </p><p>The PA reports that some book categories continued to &quot;defy expectations&quot;, with hardback books singled out. Export sales by volume for general fiction hardbacks increased 9.3% while general non-fiction hardbacks grew by 3.8%.<br /><br />Victoria Barnsley, president of The PA said: &quot;These results come as no surprise. Most publishers have reported tough market conditions and it&rsquo;s clear that publishing is not immune from the effects of the recession. However, it&rsquo;s encouraging to see the sale of hardbacks holding up so well.&quot;</p>