Printed Books Show Strong Holiday Sales
December 30, 2012

Strong Holiday Sales Show E-Books Haven’t Wiped Out Paperbacks Just Yet

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online

If strong sales of physical books during Christmas week are any indication, it appears as though the world might not be ready for e-readers and tablet computers to be the sole source of their novels and biographies just yet.

According to Jim Milliot of Publishers Weekly, sales in the final week before the holiday increased 24 percent over the previous week. With the 27.3 million print units sold during the week that ended on December 23, this year´s sales represented a five percent increase over the same time period in 2011.

"Gains were driven by the children´ categories with nonfiction up 19% and fiction ahead 7%. The adult categories had more modest gains with fiction sales increasing 2% and nonfiction up 1%," Milliot reported. "Sales through retail and clubs rose 6% in the most recent week over 2011, while sales through mass merchandisers and other retails were 3% down compared to last year."

"Jeff Kinney´s The Third Wheel was the top selling title in Christmas week at outlets that report to BookScan, though its 186,214 units sold was actually 4% behind the sales volume in the previous week," he added. "Bill O´Reilly took second and third place in the week with Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln. The Racketeer and Proof of Heaven rounded out the top five bestsellers."

Similar results were reported in the UK, where print book sales reached their highest weekly sales totals in three years, according to Zoe Wood of The Guardian. Thanks largely to titles penned by celebrities, the seven-day period ending on December 22 saw book sales top the £75 million ($121 million) mark - a 20-percent increase over the past week and the highest sum for print books since the Christmas of 2009, she added.

Harriet Cooke of the Daily Mail reports the UK's top selling book was Jamie Oliver's 15-Minute Meals, which moved more than 140,000 units last week. In second place was Is It Just Me?, a humorous autobiography by comedienne Miranda Hart, and in third was My Time, the story of Olympian/Tour de France competitor Bradley Wiggins. They sold 64,691 and 59,524 copies respectively.

"Authors and publishers have hailed the boost in sales as proof there is still room in the crowded market, where the growing popularity of digital e-readers like the Kindle and tablet computers like the iPad have eaten into book sales," Telegraph writer Josie Ensor said.

"However, Philip Downer, a books industry consultant, said that it was too early to predict the comeback of the paperback," she added. "He pointed to industry data... that shows physical book sales in the UK have declined every year since hitting a peak of £1.8bn [$2.26bn] in 2007 -- the year the final Harry Potter installment landed in bookshops."