As Book Expo America opens (for educational programming today, and floor exhibitions tomorrow), the American Booksellers Association reports to the AP that their membership rose again–adding 55 members, now totaling 1,567, up 3.6 percent from last year. That is the third consecutive gain for the organization; this time a year ago, the ABA reported adding 102 members, following their merger with the Association of Booksellers for Children. (In 2010 they added 9 members–gains, while always good, do not necessarily reflect a change in the entire store landscape, since not all independent bookstores are members of the national organization.) The current member total is close to where ABA ranks stood in 2007 (at 1,580).
More positively, the ABA also cited Nielsen BookScan data that indicates number of printed books sold by approximately 500 reporting indie stores rose by 13.4 percent (in units) this year, through mid-May.
As co-owner of the Regulator Bookshop in Durham, NC Tom Jackson notes, “It’s down compared to five years ago, but it went down when the whole economy fell. It’s since come back up and stayed up. Given what’s been happening with digital books, the competition from Amazon and so forth, that seems pretty good.”
Bowker’s complete report on new books published during 2011 is embargoed until Tuesday, but at Sunday’s self-publishing event at BEA Kelly Gallagher said they recorded ISBNs issued for 211,269 self-published titles in 2011, up from 133,036 titles in 2010. (Bear in mind that not all self-published books carry ISBNs, now including ebooks that are exclusively published through sites that don’t use an ISBN for ebooks, such as Amazon.)
eBooks comprised 41 percent of the self-published books talled by Bowker, but Gallagher said they comprised only 11 percent of overall sales, reflecting the much lower average price of ebooks versus print-on-demand titles. Create Space was the biggest self-publisher by volume (by far), with 57,602 titles.