Article in USA Today discussed briefly some 2011 bookselling trends.

My takeaways:

  • I was surprised to read of a decline in non-fiction. I always thought it sold well.
  • I was not surprised by the growth of e-books, but was surprised that in the specific statistic provided (number in the top 150), the growth was only 2 percent.
  • More self-published authors made their debut on the list.

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I welcome the decline in non-fiction.  All the how-to books have been mind-boggling.  Fiction authors eventually caught on to this and started to write books on how to write novels.  It's ridiculous.

The rest is hardly surprising.

Just like fiction, there is plenty of non-fiction that I look at and think, "are you kidding me?"  But there is some good non-fiction as well. I'll be curious to see if there will be an increase in non-fiction sales related to the election year.

I was genuinely surprised at the 2% increase - I thought it would have been more.

I think the demise of non-fiction sales is tied to the rise of e-books. E-books are better suited for fiction material, something that offers a page-by-page narrative. Reference material often requires a lot of jumping around the pages. It's also crammed into not so ideal situations, like when my copy of Joy of Cooking leans against a pot of boiling water. Wouldn't do that with my Nook.


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