Friday, February 25, 2022

Where Are Books Sold Today?


Sales of books in traditional bookstores declined significantly during the 2010s, a time of turmoil in the book industry. But things seem to be improving.   

According to a recently released government study, bookstore sales peaked in 2007 at $16.8 billion dollars. They declined by 45% to 9.12 billion dollars in 2019 -- just before the pandemic. But bookstore sales tumbled to $6.5 billion in 2020, the first year of Ccvid,, shut downs, and no  vaccine. Online sales climbed dramatically since 2007, more than making up the loss that was suffered by stores.  

With Borders closing up shop in 2010 and 2011, the number of bookstores fell from nearly 10,000 in 2007 to just over 6,000 in 2019. The Great Recession of 2008, the advent of e-books,  the expansion of Amazon, and the Internet led to bookstore closures and decreased book sales.   

As of 2019, there is a bookstore per every 54,299 Americans.   

According to the 2017 Economic Census, the book world sales broke down as follows, but even these numbers have changed in 2022:  

·         Bookstores - Sold 7 billion dollars of books 

·         Online/Mail Order - Sold 5.6 billion bucks

·         Warehouse Clubs - Sold 1.4 billion dollars

·         Direct Sales- $263 million

·         Other General Stores- $254 million

·         Supermarkets- $155 million 

·         Gift Shops- $146 million

·         Hobby & Toy Shops-- $114 million

·         Used Merchandise Stores - $93.6 million

·         Other Retail Stores - $71.2 million  

A chunk of book sales take place off the grid. Let’s say you speak at an event and sell 200 books. If you brought them or had the publisher ship them, such sales go unrecorded. If you sell books directly from your website and don’t process them through a bookstore, these sales are unregistered. If you sell a bunch of books to an organization, church, or school, etc., again the book sales seemingly don’t exist.  

2021 was a banner year for book sales. Books are moving out the door, so wherever or however they are sold, the good news is that there’s a hungry readership out there.


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Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres.


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: 

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