The book industry is evolving. As the world has become more digital, book retail industry statistics have shown an increase in digital sales of e-books, audiobooks, and print books. In fact, digital sales have had an enormous impact on the book industry!
E-commerce book purchases are one of the biggest developing trends affecting the book retail industry in recent years. Although independent bookstores might not be selling as many print books as in the past, readers are still purchasing plenty of literature in the US and across the globe.
Whether you prefer to read a print book or e-book or listen to an audiobook, each piece of literature you purchase adds to the worldwide book industry revenue. Book retail sales bring in a lot of revenue each year, largely because of their marketing efforts.
You’ve probably seen advertisements for new books by famous authors or some informative nonfiction book marketing. All these book promotion efforts help the book industry satisfy readers’ demands. Thanks to successful marketing and a gigantic international audience, the worldwide book retail industry is big—and getting bigger.
The global book retail industry is huge. As of 2021, the worldwide book market was worth over $138 billion—and it’s expected to keep growing!
One reason that the book industry is doing so well is the accessibility of e-books and audiobooks. Instead of leaving home to make a book purchase, consumers download their next book from online retailers like Kobo or Amazon’s Kindle.
The classic print book and your local independent bookstore will always have a place in readers’ hearts. Digital sales are certainly on the rise, but the bookstore industry still has a healthy share of the overall book industry market.
Recently, the US bookstore industry has declined as digital sales have increased. However, bookstores still bring in a robust $9.9 billion. Revenue is expected to increase a bit in the coming years, partially due to the constant need for academic textbooks.
Because bookstore sales have intense competition from the digital market, booksellers and comics shops will need to become a bit more creative to keep their profits up. If they’re able to increase their market share, both the stores and authors will earn more money.
Author income varies based on a variety of factors. Although each professional writer’s situation is a little different, here are a few elements that can affect how much revenue they’ll make from retail book sales:
As they sell more books, authors earn book royalties from those sales. Regardless of whether you purchase a book digitally or from your local independent bookstore, you are contributing to the author’s overall income.
Digital sales have had a huge impact on the book retail industry. E-books and audiobooks are extremely popular among readers who prefer to purchase and download their next book instead of going to their local independent bookstore.
Additionally, book industry e-commerce has helped self-published indie authors break into the professional writing scene. When books were only available in print, self-publishing was quite difficult and expensive. However, authors no longer have to search for a publishing house or pay out of pocket for their books to be produced. Now, indie authors can rely on e-book sales and promote their books via their optimized Amazon listing and their social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter for a nominal cost. This is just one of the ways that digital sales have impacted the book retail industry.
Book retailers have been greatly affected by digital sales. The convenience of purchasing an e-book or audiobook from home—or ordering a print book to be delivered with a few clicks on an e-commerce site—has enticed millions of people to forgo a trip to their local bookstore. Although digital reading is on the rise, Amazon book sales show that print books are still incredibly popular.
In fact, millions of people still prefer holding a print book in their hand as opposed to enjoying their favorite author’s work on an e-reader. According to a recent survey, 45 percent of the United States population purchased a print book, as opposed to the 23 percent who purchased an e-book. Regardless of the type of book readers are purchasing, the book industry has had to pivot in response to the competition from digital book sales.
Digital book sales have changed the way the book industry operates because it has changed the way people buy books. Unfortunately, many bookstores haven’t survived the digital sale revolution. Maybe you used to have an independent bookstore in your neighborhood or would pick up your next favorite book at a store like Borders or Waldenbooks. Although some brick-and-mortar bookstores are still around, they’ve largely decreased because they just couldn’t compete with the convenience of digital sales.
Some readers see digital books as more environmentally friendly than printed books. A print book requires resources like paper and ink. They also need to be shipped to bookstores, which causes vehicle emissions and therefore pollution. Some readers simply prefer a digital download to a print book that could eventually end up in a landfill. Thus, the book retail industry has turned some of its focus to digital sales. A by-product of this pivot is the lower cost of digital books compared to those sold in retail stores.
Unfortunately for many bookstores, print books simply cost more to produce than e-books. Here are a few of the costs associated with e-book creation:
In addition to those costs, print books have a longer list of expenses:
These costs stack up quickly—and they’re passed on to the consumer. That’s why an e-book version of your next favorite novel might cost you less to buy than a print book. This is one of the many trends affecting the overall book retail industry.
People love reading books, so the book industry will likely stay strong for the foreseeable future. However, the way that book retailers market to consumers may change. As younger readers come of age and begin purchasing books, the book retail industry could become even more digitally based in the coming years.
Over the next five to ten years, book marketing will likely become even more digital than it is now. Because self-publishing a book with e-commerce websites is so easy and relatively inexpensive, the number of indie authors will continue to grow. Large book retailers like Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble will need to market these indie authors so their sales keep increasing.
Consumers shop for just about everything online—including books! In addition to looking for their next favorite author in their search engine or by reading book reviews, many consumers turn to social media to see what’s new in the book world.
Social media has become a fantastic book promotion method. And because it’s so accessible to countless people around the world—even in developing countries—it will likely play an increasingly large role in book marketing.
Currently, authors build their online presence through platforms like their author website, Facebook, and Twitter. However, TikTok and Instagram are gaining popularity and have evolved as fantastic book marketing venues. Even novice authors can easily promote their graphic novels, nonfiction books, and their self-published cookbooks. And because social media is generally free unless an author wants to pay for advertising, indie authors can keep their book marketing costs low.
Book marketing costs vary from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. Each author’s marketing budget depends on a few factors:
Indie authors can basically choose how much time and money they want to allocate to marketing their books. As long as they keep an eye on consumer trends, they can create a successful book marketing plan.
With e-commerce book sales increasing over brick-and-mortar bookstores, the publishing industry has had to respond. Although the trend of online book sales began years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a positive impact on the book retail industry.
From children’s books to full novels, people purchased a lot of books during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, print book sales have increased by almost 9 percent since early 2020!
Reading is a fantastic way to relax and keep your mind occupied. Many consumers took advantage of these benefits during the pandemic lockdown and have continued to enjoy reading and buying new books. In particular, millennials and Gen Xers are reading more and are beginning to change how the book retail industry communicates with their target audience.
Younger generations have created a sort of new retail revolution. Many millennials and Gen Xers basically live online, so digital mass media has exploded in popularity. And the book industry has recognized this!
Publishers now rely more on the e-book market and print book sales via e-commerce than brick-and-mortar stores. They advertise online and on social media platforms to capture their target audience. Based on the average number of books that people read each year, it looks like their efforts are working.
In the United States, the average person reads 12.6 books each year, or about one per month. This might not seem like a lot, but it’s worth noting that this only includes full-length novels. Readers usually don’t include comic books or children’s books that they read to their kids in their overall book count. However, maybe they should! After all, every single book sale adds to the book retail industry’s statistics.
You don’t have to be a book industry expert to sell a lot of books. Elite Authors is here to help! Whether you need a team of professional editors, a talented book cover designer, or support marketing your masterpiece, we can help you put a beautiful book in front of your target audience and ring up your book sales.
Visit our website to learn more about our wide array of publishing services!