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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Battle For Book Sales Beyond Amazon

The marketplace for books – whether print, digital, or audio – is clearly owned by Amazon. They account for 27% of total units sold, as of October 1, 2012, according to RR Bowker. They improved from 21% a year earlier. Barnes & Noble declined to 16%, down from 17%. But after these two retailers, no single company scored in the double digits. In fact, no single category of sales channel hit double digits. Here’s how the rest of the book marketplace breaks down:

·         All independent bookstores, combined, account for only 6% of units sold:
·         Other e-book and audio download sites equal 6%
·         Other ecommerce sites account for 6%
·         All book clubs account for 5%
·         Discount, closeout and thrift stores equal 5%
·         Walmart - 4%
·         Non-traditional bookstores – 3%
·         Warehouse clubs – 3%
·         Christian bookstores – 2%
·         Target – 2%
·         Books-A-Million – 2%
·         Supermarkets – 1%
·         All other means = 12%

The book marketing battlefield runs beyond bookstores or e-commerce sites. Books are everywhere and nowhere. But however they are sold, there is no doubt that sales will always be driven by savvy book marketing and the garnering of news media coverage. Word of mouth makes a big difference but only once there is a critical mass of interest that builds up form marketing exposure. Publishers and authors will continue to identify their target readers, sell their books everywhere in every form, and market to their core readers. Promote – or perish!

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2013 ©


  1. Glad to say that independent bookstores sometimes account for 80% plus of my book sales. When I asked my publisher to send me sales figs a few weeks back I was delighted to see what a small % of books were sold through Amazon. Most of my books are bought at full price from independent book stores by people who love bookshops and books.

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