Spending in March has hit a six-year low, with sales slumping by 8.7% year on year.
According to figures from Nielsen BookScan, shoppers spent £103.3m at UK booksellers in the four weeks to 2nd April, down £8.98m on last year. Volume sales fared worse, diving 12.2% to 14.2m on the same period last year. However, average selling price nudged up 4.0% to £7.26.
According to BookScan Top 5,000 bestseller list data from the four-week period, fiction sales fell 11%, or £2.8m, year on year. The fiction decline is mainly due to a 17% volume slump in sales of crime, thriller or adventure books, in particular those of Stieg Larsson. While each title in the Millennium Trilogy was selling around 70,000 copies in March last year, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sold 17,895 in March 2011.
Non-fiction fared better last month, with category value sales for the TCM top 5,000 up 7% to £1.1m, driven by an upsurge in biography and memoir.
Children's sales also fell 15%, or £2.0m, to £11.8m. While kids fiction sales are up on 2010, young adult fiction continues to struggle amid the ongoing decline in sales of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series.