AAP Book Sales Report: March 2012

The Association of American Publishers Monthly StatShot has just been released. The numbers in the report give industry insiders (and readers) a chance to see fluctuations between current and previous book sales. And while, overall, it appears that the number of books sold in March 2011 and those sold in March 2012 remain steady, or in the words of Publishers Marketplace, “a flatter overall trade market” — it’s not so cut and dry as it may sound.

The AAP report shows that there has been a slight decline in adult sales. (Although they were quick to point out that the sales of E.L. James’ headline-making Fifty Shades series were not calculated as part of this number.) Yet even without the James books’ sales in the equation, the reason book sales are holding steady is because children’s sales have increased dramatically. And what drove these sales numbers? Well there was this tiny, little known book-to-movie adaptation you may have heard of, The Hunger Games. (If that doesn’t ring any bells, you can check out the RT web team’s review of the film adaptation.) 

Net trade book sales for March 2012, in comparison to March 2011, were up by $200,000 above the revised total for the year before. March 2012 net sales totaled $477.5 million (a number that has us drooling over the number of books we could buy if we had that much to spend on our TBR piles).

Moving from a look at print books sales trends to what is going on in the world of e-books, digital sales seem following the pattern set by a slight decline since post-holiday sales. But in all, e-book sales for March 2012 were higher than they were in March 2011. Adult e-sales are up by $21.4 million in comparison to the year before, while Children’s and YA e-book sales more than doubled, jumping from $7 million to $19.3 million. We aren’t surprised to see that people are still opting to buy e-books now that so many readers own digital devices.

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