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Old 03-20-2013, 09:38 AM   #1
fjtorres
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Bowker report: chain bookstores see BIG market share drop

A new Bowker report on book sales from 2010-2012 documents a big shift in book buying away from chain stores towards online vendors, while other players hold their own.
Quote:
According to a new report from Bowker Market Research, U.S. chain bookstores lost 13 percent of their share of book purchases in 2012.
Overall, chain booksellers saw their share decrease from 32 percent to 19 percent of volume. At the same time, Bowker recorded some dramatic gains in U.S. eReatailers and digital book growth.
The Bowker sample pdf lists 2010, 2011, and 2012 book sales for:

Chains 31.5 28.7 18.7
Indies 2.4 3.7 3.7
Warehouse clubs 3.9 3.2 3.3
Mass merchandisers 8.8 7.7 7.7
Supermarkets 2.0 1.6 1.5
Other outlets 14.7 14.6 15.2
Book clubs 11.5 5.5 6.1
Online 25.1 35.1 43.8


From:

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat...st-year_b67064
and:
http://www.bookconsumer.com/store/product.php?id

Bowker pdf download:
http://www.bookconsumer.com/store/in...e%20sample.pdf

Lots to chew on there, no?

A caveat: I understand Bowker tracks sales using ISBN numbers so they miss a lot of indie ebooks that don't bother to pay for them. Online share will thus be somewhat bigger, everything else smaller.

Of note:
- Borders had about a 17% share before the implosion. Some of it shifted to other chains but now it's effectively all migrated elsewhere.
- B&N had a 26-32% share (depending on source). They are down to 15% at most, possibly as low as 12%, depending on how much Borders traffic migrated to BAM and Half-price books.
- 2011 was murder on the book clubs. Which makes sense: avid readers were their core and ebooks draw heavily from that sector.
- The "other" channel has seen growth. Being a channel that traffics heavily in mass market paperbacks, the biggest loser in sales, they have held their own nicely.
- The Borders implosion really helped the indies. And they're holding on to their gains.
- Obviously, some--maybe most--of B&N's lost share has gone online to BN.COM and Nook, but a loss of 40-50% of store book sales is a big issue. Explains why BN.COM isn't part of Nook Media, too.

Food for thought...
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:49 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
- The Borders implosion really helped the indies. And they're holding on to their gains.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:18 PM   #3
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Online commerce skyrocketing, horrible big box stores down the drain, indies up YOY. What's not to like?
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holymadness View Post
Online commerce skyrocketing, horrible big box stores down the drain, indies up YOY. What's not to like?
Don't forget the growth in "other channels".
It looks like the drop in paperback sales isn't affecting all channels the same.
I suspect we may be seeing actual growth in book sales at newstands.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
- The Borders implosion really helped the indies. And they're holding on to their gains.

Food for thought...
It's a decent little bump, but I think the idea that it "really helped" them overstates the case a bit.

Chains lost 2.8% of the market from 2010 to 2011. Meanwhile, indies gained 1.3%. That's a pretty decent bump for the indies,and seems like it might be connected with the chain's loss.

But in from 2011 to 2012, chains lost far more of the market (10%) and indies gained nothing.

Although I was most surprised by the fact that books clubs had 11% of the market in 2010, and still have 6% of the market. I thought they kind of died out with the rise of Amazon.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
The "other" channel has seen growth.
They nabbed 0.6% of market share. It's barely noticeable.

Quote:
The Borders implosion really helped the indies. And they're holding on to their gains.
Uh... Indie stores gaining 0% increase in share, when 17% was up for grabs due to the Borders bankruptcy, is "help"?

Online sales grabbed 10% more share in 2011, and another 8% in 2012. It could stabilize, but if that trend keeps up, the physical stores are in for a lot more pain.

"I, for one, hail our new online retailer overlords..."
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew H. View Post
It's a decent little bump, but I think the idea that it "really helped" them overstates the case a bit.

Chains lost 2.8% of the market from 2010 to 2011. Meanwhile, indies gained 1.3%. That's a pretty decent bump for the indies,and seems like it might be connected with the chain's loss.
Try basing it on the indies' share:
In two years they went from 2.4 to 3.7%; that is a 54% boost in sales.

Indies are small, usually family-owned businesses: Any individual bookstore that gets 50% more sales in two years has to be feeling good.

More realistically, the boost is lower because the number of indie stores has stopped declining and is instead growing slightly. On the other hand, the industry as a whole is still growing revenue so even a steady share means increased revenue. And since we're talking a roughly $7Billion business, that 1.3% increase works out to an extra $90M in sales. Hardly peanuts.

As we heard, last XMAS the ABA indies reported an average of 8% higher sales for the holidays. No mirage, that. And as B&N closes down more stores in their programmed down-sizing the opportunities for indies will grow.

Last edited by fjtorres; 03-20-2013 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Lots to chew on there, no?
No, there isn't much to chew on. The report only shows marketshare. It says nothing about the size of the market, their methodology, nor the uncertainty in the values. This means that we don't know if the change in marketshare was significant. It also means that we don't know if it represents growth or losses for the various types of book seller. (In the cases of large changes, it is fairly evident what happened. In the cases of small changes, it is not evident.) Even if they fleshed out the data, it doesn't tell us anything about how the buying habits of individual consumers have changed (e.g. someone who bought from bookstores probably started buying ebooks) because it seems like the data relates to sales.

It's a pretty graph to look at though.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:08 PM   #9
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Well, we already know the size of the market.
Here's a report on the latest update covering 2012, until nov, just as the Bowker report.
http://www.the-digital-reader.com/20...up-44-in-2012/
It works out to about $7 billion a year, of which 24% is known to be ebooks.
It doesn't take much math-slinging to figure out the rest.

Or the underlying trend.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Well, we already know the size of the market.
Here's a report on the latest update covering 2012, until nov, just as the Bowker report.
http://www.the-digital-reader.com/20...up-44-in-2012/
It works out to about $7 billion a year, of which 24% is known to be ebooks.
It doesn't take much math-slinging to figure out the rest.

Or the underlying trend.
From the link:

The US book market as a whole grew by 8% in the first 11 months of 2012, from $6.1 billion to $6.6 billion.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Try basing it on the indies' share:
In two years they went from 2.4 to 3.7%; that is a 54% boost in sales.

Indies are small, usually family-owned businesses: Any individual bookstore that gets 50% more sales in two years has to be feeling good.

More realistically, the boost is lower because the number of indie stores has stopped declining and is instead growing slightly. On the other hand, the industry as a whole is still growing revenue so even a steady share means increased revenue. And since we're talking a roughly $7Billion business, that 1.3% increase works out to an extra $90M in sales. Hardly peanuts.

As we heard, last XMAS the ABA indies reported an average of 8% higher sales for the holidays. No mirage, that. And as B&N closes down more stores in their programmed down-sizing the opportunities for indies will grow.
According to the report less than half of the indies surveyed responded and less than half of all indies are ABA members. So these and any reports are estimating indie sales and market share with less than 25% of actual available data. It's very possible the figures presented isn't entirely accurate especially when dealing with low numbers.

Also, Bowker's parent company owns a retail bookstore. Would Amazon and B&N tell a competitor actual sales figures? I'm thinking a lot of estimation went into this report.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:40 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by QuantumIguana View Post
From the link:

The US book market as a whole grew by 8% in the first 11 months of 2012, from $6.1 billion to $6.6 billion.
11 months.
Add a fudge factor for december. (12/11?)
Add another because they don't factor in indie publishing. (1%? 2%)
It'll be somewhere in the $7 billion range. And ebooks at 24% look to bring in something like $1.7 billion. For all the players; Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Nook, Sony... BPHs and self-pub'ers.

ebook sales growth has "slowed" to 42% or so. It might even slow to 30-something. Even at the lower level, ebook sales will likely exceed $2B for 2013.
And as Everett Dirksen said:
"A bilion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money."
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/au...t_dirksen.html
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:45 PM   #13
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I'm thinking a lot of estimation went into this report.
Yup!
But they get some of their data from publishers, who are among the customers paying for the report. And this particular report is about channels, not companies.
It's better than throwing darts at a board.

Or dealing in generalities:
http://www.idealog.com/blog/atomizat...n-an-industry/
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:57 AM   #14
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Can B&N's share really have declined that much? In that case, wouldn't more of their stores have been in trouble?

Or is it that the non-book merchandise is picking up the slack?
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:10 AM   #15
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