HALLIE: Trying to figure out what’s happening in the book business? There’s a fascinating slide presentation from the Nielson Company on the retail perspective.
The data is from BookScan which has been collecting sales numbers on book sales since '01 from 12,000 locations nationwide, including bricks-and-mortar and on-line booksellers like B. Dalton, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Costco, Powells, and others, but apparently not including small independents.
Trends over the last 5 years:
* Adult “general fiction” sales -- UP more than 23%
* Adult “mystery/detective” fiction sales -- DOWN almost 13%
And 2009 doesn’t look as if it’s going to improve the picture. SO FAR:
* Adult “general fiction” -- DOWN over 3% compared to 2008
* Adult “mystery/detective” fiction sales -- DOWN almost 20% compared to 2008
Here’s an interesting breakdown showing 5-year sales trends for mystery/detective fiction:
* Women Sleuths -- UP 9.44%
* General -- DOWN 17.80%
* Espionage -- DOWN 20.68%
* Series -- DOWN a whopping 65.16%
Of course, it’s hard to interpret these numbers. They reflect as much what’s selling as what’s available, and the latter is a function of the decisions publishers are making about what to publish.
So what’s hot over the last 5 years in this cold market?
* Comic/Graphic Novels -- UP 52.68%
* Juvenile -- UP 36.22%
Where are books selling over the last 5 years?
* Atlanta -- UP 20.57%
* Seattle/Tacoma -- UP 15.19%
* Washington, DC -- UP 9.20%
As compared to
* Denver -- DOWN 5.04%
So kids, reading the tea leaves…we should all run right out and write a graphic novel for kids, set in Seattle with a female sleuth. Right?