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Trends in Trade Book Retailing 2011


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Recent news in book retailing has stunned most observers of the publishing world, but Simba Information and the buyers of the Trends in Trade Book Retailing series have been ahead of the curve: this report series, now in its third year, has long predicted the challenges of Borders Group and other retailers and documented the price wars long before the first shot was fired.

Trends in Trade Book Retailing 2011 compiles national data on who is buying books and e-books, what they're buying and where they’re buying them, as well as detailed overviews of the major channels, how their market share is trending, and what outside factors are affecting each. The report provides a “scorecard” for each channel—bookstores, the Internet, book clubs, and “other”—and a demographic overview of the average consumer.

The report exhibits a trend unique to bookstores, which "subsidize" the e-book market by acting as a book showroom for nearly 10% of U.S. adults.

Simba compiled trusted nationally representative data from Experian Simmons for this analysis. The four channels are also ranked by the estimated number of customers, what formats they buy, and how many titles the consumers purchase and how things are trending in each channel now that e-books are part of the equation.

With the book retailing segment as challenged as it is, no publisher, retailer, or industry analyst can afford not to have this vital tool.


E-Book Market Partially "Subsidized" by Physical Bookstores

Stamford, CT - August 31, 2011 - A recent report by media and publishing forecast firm Simba Information found that even though bookstores have lost some of their customer base over the years, the channel feeds into the e-book universe by serving as a 'book showroom' for the roughly 10% of U.S. adults who buy e-books.

"Believing that adults will begin taking to e-books in large numbers because of Borders' liquidation is a dangerous assumption," said Michael Norris, senior analyst of Simba Information's Trade Books Group, commenting on the report. "Since most adults buy books from multiple channels and enjoy using bookstores for browsing, the loss of a 'book showroom' can impact print books and e-books in unexpected ways."

Data from Simba indicates that the more channels a consumer uses, the more likely he/she is to buy—even though bookstores are sometimes cut out of the action. In a Simba survey of over 110 bookstores across the country, 38% indicated that their (former) regular customers who own a Barnes & Noble Nook or an Amazon Kindle 'often or very often' return to browse without buying anything. 43% of the same booksellers also said non-regular customers often or very often come to browse before leaving to buy from another retailer.

"Publishers should be working around the clock to find ways to make chain and independent bookstores stronger, and not for reasons having to do with sentimentality," Norris said. "If the only retailers left selling books are those that don't need to, publishers will lose their power and relevance overnight. I genuinely worry that books may follow the same dreadful path of music, where gadgets like the iPod spring up to make consumption easy, the showrooms for media discovery close, piracy becomes a cultural expectation and the market shrinks by billions as more people buy less."

The report, "Trends in Trade Book Retailing 2011," also shows the interconnected world of retailing with thorough profiles of the bookstore, online and other major retailing channels, outlining key demographic details and trends unique to each, including the gender, age, household income, education level and purchasing habits of the buyers. The significant influence of non-bookstore physical store retailers like Walmart and Target and the influence of e-book sellers like Amazon.com are also covered.

  • Methodology
  • Introduction
  • Channel Trends & Demographics
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Consumers Who Did/Did Not Buy a Book In Previous 12 Mos.
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Sales Channel Trends
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Buying Books As Gifts (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Customer Trends
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Sales Channel Trends
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): The Channels Crossed Against Themselves (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Allocations: Type of Book Purchased (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Allocation: No. of Hardcover Books Purchased (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Allocation: No. of Paperback Books Purchased (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by Gender (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by Age (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by Race (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by Region (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by Metro Markets (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by Education Level (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by Employment Status (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by Profession (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by Individual Income (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by Household Income (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by Marital Status (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by No. of People in Household (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by Age of Children in Household (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Allocation by Children/No Children in Household (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by Type of Residence (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Channel Preferences by Value of Residence (Number of adults in thousands)
  • Bookstore Performance and Challenges
    • Table Bookstore Users: Key Statistics and Demographics
    • Table Bookstore ONLY Users: Key Statistics and Demographics
    • Table Number of Superstore Outlets, 2006-2010
    • Table Borders Store Outlets by State
    • Table Leading Bookstore Chains Revenue Growth, 2006-2010 ($ in 000)
    • Table Growth in Superstore Sales, Major Retail Chains, 2006-2010 ($ in millions)
    • Table Big Three Bookstore Chains Operating Performance, 2006-2010 ($ in millions)
    • Table Who is the Most Common/Least Common Customer at Your Store?
    • Table Tools Used By Independent Bookstores, 2010
    • Table Independent Bookstores and E-Books
    • Table How was the first four months of 2010 at your store compared to the same period 2009?
    • Table How was the first four months of 2011 at your store compared to the same period 2010?
  • Internet Retailing and Digital Distribution
    • Table Amazon's Net Sales and Total Media Sales Growth, Q12007-Q42010
    • Table Amazon's Media Sales vs. Electronics Sales as a Percentage of Total Sales, 2007- 2010
    • Table Amazon Users And Books (all numbers in 000)
    • Table Amazon and Cross Channel Book Purchasing (all numbers in 000)
    • Table Amazon and Multiple Book Buyers (all numbers in 000)
    • Table Amazon Users And E-Book Devices (all numbers in 000)
    • Table Revenue of Leading Online Booksellers, 2006-2010 ($ in millions)
    • Table Impact of Fee Reduction on eBay Book Auctions
    • Table Devices Used to Read E-Books, 2008-2010
    • Table Online Book Buyers: Key Statistics and Demographics
    • Table Online ONLY Users: Key Statistics and Demographics
  • The Growth of Non-Bookstore Retailers and Their Impact
    • Table Number of Stores, Big Three vs. Big Box
    • Table Price Comparison of the Top 10 Bestselling Books at Select Stores, July 2011
    • Table "Other" Users: Key Statistics and Demographics
  • Consumer Psychographics
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Attitudes and Opinions of The Internet, By Channel, Any Agree (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Attitudes and Opinions of The Internet, By Channel
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Attitudes and Opinions of Television, By Channel (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Attitudes and Opinions of Advertising, By Channel (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Attitudes and Opinions of Shopping, By Channel (Number of adults in thousands)
    • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Impulse Shopping Habits, By Channel (Number of adults in thousands)
  • Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Channel Profiles
    • Table Book Club Users: Key Statistics and Demographics
    • Table Bookstore Users: Key Statistics and Demographics
    • Table Bookstore ONLY Users: Key Statistics and Demographics
    • Table Online Book Buyers: Key Statistics and Demographics
    • Table Online ONLY Users: Key Statistics and Demographics
    • Table "Other" Users: Key Statistics and Demographics
  • Profiles of Leading Booksellers
    • Table Key Statistics: Amazon.com
    • Table Financial Overview: Amazon.com, Inc., 2006-2010 ($ in 000)
    • Table Key Statistics: Barnes & Noble Inc.
    • Table Overview of Consumer Book Retailing Operations: Barnes & Noble, Fiscal 2006- 2010 ($ in 000)
    • Table Key Statistics: Books-A-Million
    • Table Overview of Consumer Book Retailing Operations: Books-A-Million, Fiscal 2006- 2010
    • Table Key Statistics: Borders Group Inc.
    • Table Overview of Consumer Book Retailing Operations: Borders Group, Inc., FY2006- 2010

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