German, UK Book Sales Drop in January

In Global Trade Talk by Siobhan O'Leary

By Siobhan O’Leary and Edward Nawotka

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Book sales in Germany dropped much like the temperature in January, coming in 7.8% lower than the same month last year. The results, compiled by the Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammertag and reported in Buchreport, were attributed to a number of factors. First off, January 2010 was one shopping day shorter than January 2009 (which likely accounts for an automatic drop of 3%). In addition, last January was a particularly (some might say unusually) strong month, experiencing a jump of 7.6% over January 2008. Finally, the bestsellers this January were not nearly as strong as those of January 2009. Last January, two of Stephenie Meyer’s books accounted for as much in sales as this January’s top 5 bestselling novels. 

In the UK, the British Retail Consortium noted that “books were among the poorest performing categories in leisure goods” in the month of January, said The Bookseller. “Book sales fell further, to show their worst year-on-year decline since July 2008, as snow-hit shoppers put off non-essential purchases. Interest in non-fiction celebrity titles has faded markedly.” Nielsen BookScan says that the four weeks ending 30th Jan 2010, show value sales down 7.4% to £107.8m, with volume down 1.1% to £15.3m.

About the Author

Siobhan O'Leary

Siobhan O’Leary is a literary agent, translator and writer based in Berlin. She previously worked in the Foreign Rights department of the Crown Publishing Group (Random House) and at the publishing consulting firm Market Partners International.