Faced with flatlining sales, the end of the money-spinning Twilight and Harry Potter series and severe competition from rival media, it has been hard for book publishers to feel optimistic recently. But 2012 began with a glimpse of sunlight through the clouds. Hardback books have been thrown an unlikely lifeline by ebooks. As a result publishers are reassessing their strategy towards a format declared dead only a year ago.
The format was predicted to be the chief victim in the bloodbath following the rapid rise of digital books, but data from Nielsen BookScan, which monitors sales in eight book markets worldwide, shows second publication paperbacks are under more threat from ereaders like Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad.
Though the data shows a decline in print sales across all mature markets of between 1.7% and 14.8%, the percentage decline in hardback sales is lower than that of paperbacks, 8.5% compared to 11.7%. Speaking with publishers, the news looks even more optimistic. More…