Publishers Assess the Damage from November
Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau issued its retail figures for November 2008, including a 13 percent decline in bookstore sales compared to the year before. Now the Association of American Publishers has released its numbers for the month, reporting a 14.4 percent decline—and, when all the revenue for the first eleven months of the year is tallied, it's down 4.4 percent from the year before.
Nearly every category experienced severe declines; children's and YA hardcovers were one of the few categories to improve, showing a 14.3 percent from November 2007, but the year-to-date sales are still down 20.6 percent. Oh, and e-book business more than doubled for the month, and is up nearly 64 percent for the year—but you could take e-book sales for all of 2008, quintuple them, and you still wouldn't have as much money as publishers report in sales for even a lousy month like November.