Print book sales decline in first half of 2011

Print sales across the book market have dropped by 3% in the first six months of 2011, compared to the same period last year.

According to Nielsen BookScan data, sales across the trade through the Total Consumer Market in the first 26 weeks of 2011 were down 3% in value, or £22.2m, on the same period last year, to £677.4m, representing the lowest half-year total since 2005.

However, some titles bucked the overall trend of market decline, with Macmillan grabbing both the hardback and paperback fiction bestselling slots, with Wilbur Smith's Those in Peril selling 103,328 copies over the period, and Emma Donoghue's Room selling 348,166 copies in paperback.

Macmillan, with overall TCM sales up 14%, as well as Penguin, with sales up 11%, and Simon & Schuster, with sales up 11%, were the better performing publishers among the top groups, with sales at Hachette UK, HarperCollins and the Independent Alliance all down through the TCM, though Harper's market share did improve. Children's publisher Usborne saw the largest sales growth in the top 20 group of publishers, with TCM sales up 28%.

Steep fallers include Quercus (down 39%), Little, Brown (down 30%), and John Blake (down 29%). Igloo was the faster rising publisher in the first half, with sales up 96%

Sales of paperback novels as a genre have fallen by 6%, or £10m, since this point last year.

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