The Association of American Publishers gets sales figures from 79 publishers (out of the many thousand publishing companies in this country), including the major pubs. The AAP reports that net sales by publishers fell 1.4% in August, to a total of $6.65 billion.
Quoting from an article in Shelf Awareness, an e-newsletter of the book trade:
- E-books leapt 82.9%, to $4.3 million.
- Children's/YA paperback jumped 18.4% to $69.4 million.
- Adult hardcover rose 9.2% to $100.9 million.
- Professional and scholarly rose 3% to $99.8 million.
- Adult paperback edged up 1.8% to $147.4 million.
- Adult mass market fell 4.5% to $70.1 million.
- Audiobooks wound back 6.9% to $11.9 million.
- Children's/YA hardcover fell 9.3% to $96.4 million.
- Religious books dropped 10.8% to $61.1 million.
- University press paperback slid 13.9% to $9.8 million.
- University press hardcover fell 17.8% to $6.4 million.
(I personally think that a good part of that leap in the ebook numbers is in the reporting of them - few print publishers bothered reporting those numbers before, and the AAP does not solicit sales figures from e-publishers.)
The article further discusses the decline in sales everywhere, as reflected in sales figures from general retail stores. Only warehouse clubs and some big box stores (BJ's, Sam's, Wal-Mart) had noticeable sales increases. But Target was down 3%, luxury stores and department stores were down significantly. So the drop in book sales is part of a general consumer cutback in spending.
From Wall Street Journal:
"The September numbers show a nation paring back in the face of economic uncertainty, fleeing extravagance in favor of low-priced basics. Discretionary spending is drying up as Americans grapple with higher food and energy prices, depressed home values and diminished retirement accounts."