The Scores On the Doors Are In For 2009 Book Sales

Nielsen BookScan has correlated their final booksales figures in 2009 (724m units). UK book retailers faired a little better than their US cousins, suffering only a half percent decline, compared to the overall 3% decline. The better than expected figures are strongly attributed to deep discounting from high street retailers like Amazon, Wal-mart and Target in the US, though Wal-Mart is not actually included in Nielsen Bookscan figures. That UK figure may also have been boosted by heavy sale discounting by the closing-down of 45 Borders UK stores. The more general trends were a decline in adult non-fiction by 7% and adult fiction posting virtually no change on last year figures.
Stephenie Meyer, with her novel, New Moon, taking the top spot in the UK from Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol. Celebrity books took a real hammering in the UK, with, ironically, Barack Obama’s, Dreams of My Father making the top 20.
Not so in the US, Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue gave No. 1 bestseller, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol a real run for his money.
Overall unit sales through December 20 came in at 724 million, a drop of just 3% compared to the same period in 2008. The biggest decline by category was in adult non-fiction, with sales of 272 million units, down 7% from the prior year.
Surprisingly hardback adult fiction actually rose by 3%, but much of this could be attributed to the Dan Brown factor, and discounts extending to hardback titles more than in other sales years. It should be noted that for bizarre reasoning, Bookscan have yet to formulate a way of co-opting in online retailers so they can including ebook sales—factor that into the figures—it seems we haven’t grown, but at least we are on something of a par with 2008. Therein lies another debate—the true ebook sales figures—estimated to be anything from as low as 1% by highly conservative quarters, to as much as 5 – 6% in others.
1 New Moon, Meyer, Stephenie
2 The Lost Symbol, Brown, Dan
3 Twilight, Meyer, Stephenie
4 Eclipse, Meyer, Stephenie
5 Breaking Dawn, Meyer, Stephenie
6 Guinness World Records 2010
7 This Charming Man, Keyes, Marian
8 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Larsson, Stieg
9 When Will There be Good News? Atkinson, Kate
10 My Sister’s Keeper, Picoult, Jodi

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