While ebook sales plateaued in 2014, print books staged a comeback. According to Nielsen BookScan, print sales rose 2.4% in 2014, with total units topping 635 million. The 2014 figures provide evidence that print books are selling better than they have since sales of e-books took off in 2010 and Borders closed its doors in 2011.
- Trade Paperback increased 4.3%
- Hardcover increased 3%
- Mass Market Paperback declined -10.3
- Audio remained flat at 0.2
- The mystery and romance categories had the largest market shares at 32% and 36%
The Revival of Bookstores
After several solid years, independents are beginning to add locations and taking back some of the physical bookshelf space they lost during the Great Recession and the ebook explosion. Some are focusing on underserved towns where Borders once flourished. Other stores are creating reading environments by partnering with local restaurants and coffee shop in order to increase foot traffic. Used bookstores fill a void by offering popular titles and discounted prices. For the author, local bookstores remain a bright spot and many will find their local bookstore eager to host an author event.
Print and ebook Live On
Declines in print revenues will slow over the next five years and, in the long term, the market will plateau, with printed books still seen as desirable to own. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
As the economy continues to improve, consumers have demonstrated a willingness to spend money on print books. That said, the struggles at Barnes and Noble and bankruptcy proceedings at Family Christian Books might continue to drive consumers towards online sales and independent bookstores.