One of the first things I hear from almost anyone who finds out I am a publisher is a grave expression of empathy that conventional books are on their way out. The media’s focus on skyrocketing e-book growth – whether Kindle, iPad, Nook or others – amplified by music’s breathtaking drop in physical CD sales, drives many (even fellow publishers) to jump to the conclusion that the end is near for the paper-and-ink book. Not so fast!
Witness the May 19, 2011 report by the Association of American Publishers (AAP). Based on data gathered from 84 publishers, both print and digital formats of books saw revenue gains in March 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. In fact, religion books in March grew for the third month in a row, increasing 27.4%. Growth in book sales came despite a staggering 145.7% increase in e-book sales. That’s not to say general economic woes won’t periodically depress books sales, or all retail for that matter, as was the case in 2009. Yet, even with Borders liquidating, I’m generally encouraged.