Monday, 26 December 2011

Mass Market Paperback (1935 - ?) Part I

A recent NY Times article talks about the rapid drop in mass market paperback (MMP) sales in the US. Looking for more information I came across a 2011 study (Bookstats) of publishing trends from 2008 to 2010, a period when net sales revenue of MMP dropped 13.8 % to $1.28 billion and 16.8% to 319 million units. Net sales revenue is the publishers revenue net of discounts to booksellers and credits for returns and not sales to consumers which of course is at the book's list price.

The American Association of Publishers issues monthly sales reports. The latest October data show MMP sales revenue has dropped 34% in 2011 over 2010. This survey is from 80 publishers whereas the more comprehensive BookStats has data from 2000. But the 80 have sales of more than 50% of the market so the drop in 2011 is likely representative of the full market.

So MMP unit sales have dropped from 383 million in 2008 to 319 in 2010 and heading for 200 million in 2011. Hard not to agree that the MMP is rapidly being eclipsed by ebooks.

Here are a few of my favourite non-Canadian paperbacks.

Pelican S35 - 1939

Dell 270 - 1948

Avon 314 - 1951

Penguin 2591 - 1967

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