Friday, November 14, 2014

The State of Bookstores

According to Open Education Database (, an Oct. 29, 2012 report says there are more bookstores in America today than there were in 1930.  However, from 1997 to 2002, there was a 12% drop in the number of bookstores.  According to 2002 Census data, there were 10,800 bookstores over a decade ago.  Bookstore sales peaked in 2007 with $17.18 billion in revenue.  In 2011, ebook sales captured $3.2 billion.  That same year – 2011 – Amazon captured 22.6% of the book market.  By next year, it will have doubled that.

A 2013 Publishers Weekly study showed that California and Texas had the most bookstores, by state, but Montana had the most bookstores per capita.

According to, there were 38,500 bookstores in 2004 and less than a decade later, in 2012, only 27,500 remained. reported on April 4, 2014, that based on the American Booksellers Association, indie bookstores used to number a peak of 4,000 in the 1990’s.  They hit a low of 1,651 in 2009 and jumped 19.3% to 1,971 in 2013.

According to in 2012, bookstore industry revenues fell to 19 billion dollars in 2012, and the number of bookstore establishments declined to 29,795 in 2012. in February 2014 said Amazon generated 5.25 billion dollars in book revenue in 2013.  Ebooks make up 30% of all book sales and Amazon has a 65% share of all book sales.

According to in March, 2014, only 54 black-owned bookstores exist in America. said as of a month ago there are 2,908,475 Kindle ebooks available.  I imagine we’ll hit three million shortly.  About one-fourth of these titles can be borrowed as part of a Kindle Unlimited subscription program.

In an October earnings report featured by that site, they put it best when they said the following:

“We’d also like to remind those who read our reports that our results are not an indication that everyone in publishing is getting rich.  As we warned in our very first report, self-publishing is not a gold rush.  Publishing in general will disappoint most anyone who enters into the endeavor in order to make piles of money.  There are many other reasons to write and publish, some arguably more noble than increasing wealth.  And however you publish, the chances of earning a full-time living are not great.  Our contention, however, is that the chances have never been better.  Because every day, the writer and the reader assume control of an industry that used to rely almost entirely upon middlemen to bring these two parties together.  More money is now flowing to artists than ever before, and that art is costing consumers less than ever before.”

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, 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 © 2014

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