Investment Bank Research Publications VSS News Archives
Private Equity Funds Media Indsutry Segments Media Industry Links Career Opportunities



After rising 5.6 percent in 1998, domestic spending on consumer books rose only 3.2 percent in 1999 to $17.4 billion, while unit shipments dipped 0.3 percent.
Of the different components that comprise the consumer book market-adult and children's trade publishing, religious books, book clubs, mail order, mass market paperbacks and university presses-only the children's hardcover and paperback segments had a strong performance in 1999.

Spending in the children's category was given a huge boost by the publishing phenomenon of the Harry Potter books. Published by Scholastic and written by J.K. Rowling, the three Potter titles sold more than 10 million copies in hardcover and another 3.2 million copies in paperback in 1999. The success of the Potter titles was cheered in the publishing industry not only for boosting sales, but also for attracting boys to books, an audience notorious for its disinterest in reading books.
Source: Veronis Suhler Communications Industry Forecast


Rising by 5.6 percent in 1998, consumer book dollar sales rebounded from a relatively poor year in 1997.
The trade book sector, the largest division of the consumer market-accounting for 61.4 percent of all spending-posted a 6.7 percent increase. Mass-market paperbacks, the second-largest area of the market, experienced a 5.7 percent rise. The significant expansion of these two segments, which are characterized by the greatest exposure to the retail distribution channel, has been a direct result of recent changes in the landscape of the retail market for consumer books. As the inventory correction of the mid-1990s drew to an end, net unit shipments posted an increase exceeding 3.0 percent for only the second time this decade.

Channel-related issues distort the industry's growth rate because of changes in book inventory. The emergence of superstores during the late 1980s and early 1990s led to a considerable rise in book ordering by distributors and retailers, and publishers' shipment figures reflected this growth. Over the seven-year span from 1987 to 1994, unit sales of consumer books exhibited 8.4 percent compound annual growth. Although these books were being shipped from publishers, not all were being sold to consumers; the remaining books were left in the hands of book retailers.

Online booksellers have become an increasingly important part of the industry. Led by and, online sales totaled $687 million in 1998, more than four times the 1997 total of $163 million. As the number of online households continues to grow in the coming years, we expect that online spending on books will continue to expand. In 1998, the average Internet-equipped household spent more than $24 purchasing books online, representing nearly a $17 increase over the 1997 figure. We predict that in 2003 sales will reach $50 per household and aggregate spending online will total an estimated $2.7 billion.

E-commerce is not the only recent technological innovation to affect the book industry now that electronic books (E-books) have finally hit the market. Manufactured by the companies NuvoMedia, SoftBook Press, and, electronic readers (E-readers) permit users to purchase books that can be read on a portable screen.

Whether or not the introduction of E-books to the book market will render business difficult for authors or publishers, we do not believe the electronic market will significantly affect the traditional print medium. That we have not taken to reading online is evidenced by the fact that online newspapers and magazines have not appeared to have cut into print circulation despite the dramatic increase in Internet penetration. The book-purchasing population also tends to be older than the online population, at least at present. Of those who bought at least one book in 1998, nearly two-thirds were 35 and older and nearly 43 percent were 45 and older.
Source: Veronis Suhler Communications Industry Forecast


Consumer Book sales primed to recover after first decline in more than a decade
A recovery is projected for 1998, following the first decline of overall consumer book sales in more than a decade in 1997. Net shipments of consumer books are forecasted to rise 3.8% in 1998 and at a compound annual rate of 2.4% for the five-year period 1997-2002. Total spending on consumer books will reach $19.7 billion by 2002, up from $15.4 billion in 1997. End user spending on consumer books declined 2.7% in 1997.

Trade book sales will recover as the inventory correction brought on by changes in the retail infrastructure gradually wanes. Shipments of trade books, which account for 59.4% of all consumer book spending, will rise 4.8% in 1998 and at a compound annual rate of 3.2 for the 5-year period, following a 7.1% decline in 1997. End user spending on trade books will grow at a compound annual rate of 5.7% over the five-year period 1997-2002.

Mass-market paperbacks, which have their own distribution channels (newsstands, drugstores, supermarkets, etc.), are projected to recover from a sharp 1997 decline, when unit sales dropped 10.2%. As with trade books, swelling retailers' returns, as high as 50% with large discount outlets such as Wal-Mart and Kmart in 1997, have hurt sales. Increased sales in early 1998 indicate that this problem is working itself out. Following a 7.8% 1997 decline, end user spending on mass-market paperbacks is forecast to rise 6.5% in 1998 and at a 4.1% compound annual rate from 1997-2002.

Religious book sales and book club sales bucked overall industry trends by posting net gains in end user spending of 3.6% and 4.9% respectively in 1997. End user spending is forecasted to grow at a compound annual rate of 4.5% for religious books and 5.8% for book clubs over the forecast period.

The overall decline in trade book sales notwithstanding, a record 228 titles sold over 100,000 copies in 1997. Ten hardcover titles, five fiction and five nonfiction, exceeded the $1 million sales mark in 1997.

Online book sales, which increased tenfold in 1997 to $150 million, are projected to quadruple in 1998 and to reach $2.1 billion by 2001 -- a compound annual growth rate of 69.6% over the five-year forecast period (1997-2002).
Source: Veronis Suhler Communications Industry Forecast

Merchant Bank | Industry Links | Research Publications
Private Equity Funds | Industry Segments | Career Opportunities | Home

Please report problems to . Please read our Privacy Policy Statement

2002 Veronis Suhler Stevenson. All rights reserved worldwide