Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Sales and Reading Up and Down

Interest in books, sales of books and reading in general are all up. And down. This from a variety of sources.

The Globe & Mail today reports that while Canadians worry about the amount they read, book sales and reading are up pretty much across the board:
When the first nationwide count of book buying and borrowing weighs in with its numbers Wednesday, Canadians may be surprised by how many books they brought home in just one week: It’s safe to predict the number will be in the millions. Sales figures already show that Canadians buy more than one million a week; urban library systems report weekly print circulation numbers in the tens or even hundreds of thousands.
Even so, many Canadians are still afraid that technology will kill the book:
“There is a kind of anxiety about the new replacing the old,” speculates Jane Pyper, city librarian at the Toronto Public Library, talking about the rise first of computers and then of electronic readers. “In the libraries we have this dialogue between formats, as activities that can support each other, but it is easier to tell a story of competition.”
Meanwhile in a Los Angeles Times blog piece that echoes many of The Globe article’s major points, there are reports of book sales going down... and up.
November book sales numbers are out, and they don't look great, print-wise. But e-books? They're hot.

Print book sales were down, the Assn. of American Publishers reports, in all the major trade categories. Year-to-date hardcover sales in 2010 are down 6.1%; mass market paperbacks have fallen off even more, by 14%. And while adult paperbacks are doing all right for the year, in November their sales fell by a whopping 19%.
So what should readers make of these conflicting reports? How’s this for an idea: grab a book and a nice comfy chair, curl up and read.



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