Did you buy a physical book in September? Was it a lonely experience? The Association of American Publishers announced their September results, showing drastic declines in printed book sales, whether purchased in a store or online. Electronic book sales have nearly doubled.
Adult Hardcover sales for September 2010 were down 40.4% compared to Sept 2009, and are down 8.1% year-to-date.
Adult Mass Market sales for September were down 23.6% and are down 15.7% y-t-d.
Adult Paperback sales for September were down 15.8% but increased 1.5% y-t-d.
Children's/YA Paperbacks for September were down only 1.6% but are down 6.8% y-t-d.
Physical Audio Sales [CDs, tapes] were down 42.6% for September and 12.6% y-t-d.
Download Audio sales were up 73.7% for September and have increased 34.1% y-t-d.
E-book sales rose 158% over September 2009 and y-t-d are up 188%.
Here's another aspect of the future: From 1878 until today, phone companies have had to pay to print, store, ship, and deliver directories of phone numbers, aka The White Pages, free of charge to the areas they cover. Now that New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida have approved Verizon's request to cease publication of residential directories, the only way to get phone numbers is online; or via directory assistance, which you pay for. Other states that have already approved or are pending similar approval: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. Yes, it's a great reduction of environmental impact (paper, evil ink, shipping) but this is the wrong net result: was their cost, now your cost.
U.S. News & World Report, founded in 1933, announced that December would be its last print issue. Tumbling from a weekly to a fortnightly to a monthly publication, it continually lost readers. The magazine will continue only online and in rare special print editions like their annual college survey.
In September, NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger conceded, "We will stop printing the New York Times sometime in the future." Enjoy it online while it's still free, this month and next. The NYT website pay wall is coming in the first quarter of 2011.