Holiday Sales Recap

How is the market doing? Industry folk are always wondering. Well, let me give you a little updateand you’ll be pleased to know that it’s pretty upbeat.

The 2011 holiday season was only the tiniest bit down from the 2010 holiday season.

I looked at ring fence numbers for the four weeks in 2011 and 2010 that led up to Christmas. When I looked at ring fence numbers, I saw that unit sales were down by 2.5% and the 2011 value sold was only down by 1.4%, which really isn’t much.

Which kinds of books sell the most that time of year?

Juvenile books were up this year, growing in value by 14.39%. Juvenile books also represented a larger piece of the pie than they did last year, now about 34% of unit sales in the print market and 24.5% of value sold. But non-fiction continues to be the largest segment over the holidays, making up 47% in value and 37% in volume sold across Canada.

Is the e-book cannibalizing print?

We can’t answer that conclusively yet, but we’re working on it. Given the fact that numbers aren’t down that much, I would say print is holding its own. In terms of formats, the hardcover format was doing well, going up 1.8% in unit sales and 3% in value.

There was a 5% drop in paperback sales, though (trade and mass market combined). What can you read into that? Well, there are many ways to interpret the data, but one could argue that over the holidays people still like putting an expensive format under the tree. Perhaps the format less often considered a keepsake is more likely to be hit by e-book sales.

For SalesData users, there’s lots more digging possible. The stats I pulled here are pretty easy for any SalesData user to get using the Market Share Report. But for more in-depth analysis, you’ll have to wait for the next edition of The Canadian Book Market, which is in production right now.

We’ll also be presenting market analysis at Technology Forum 2012 during a workshop on March 7th. If you haven’t already purchased your ticket, make sure you do so quickly before we sell out.