Friday, January 8, 2010

Sort-of good news for self-publishers: B&N store sales are down, web sales are way up

Self-published authors who are frustrated about not being able to get their books into bricks-and-mortar bookstores have less to be frustrated about. Online bookselling (a much easier path for self-pubbers) is rapidly growing, while bookstores are closing and sales at the remaining stores are decreasing. There's just not much reason to base your pricing, returns policy and marketing strategy on a sales channel that's hostile to self-pubbers AND is becoming less important.

  • Barnes & Noble, the world's largest bookseller, reported that store sales for the nine-week holiday period from November 1, 2009 to January 2, 2010 declined by 5% over the same period a year ago. Online sales at Barnes & increased 17% for the holiday selling season.
  • In a study done by Zogby for Random House and released last Spring, 77% of respondents said they’d bought books online and 76% said they’d bought books in big chain bookstores.
  • Stores owned by Barnes & Noble and Borders are devoting increasing space to everything from backpacks to wrapping paper as they morph into variety stores that also sell books. At the same time, online booksellers have "infinite cyber shelf space" to display books.
  • Borders has gone out of business in Great Britain.
  • In the United States, Borders has been closing stores since 2007.
  • grows and grows and grows.
  • Publishers can make much more money per copy via online sales, and no battered books are returned.


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