Earlier this week the NYTimes carried on the biennial tradition of declaring the revival of print when it used the following stats to explain B&N wasn’t going away:
The company’s results come at a time when bookstores may be making a comeback and e-books, which have been perceived as print killers, are losing popularity.
In the first 10 months of 2015, according to data gathered by the Association of American Publishers:
• E-book sales in the country fell 12.3 percent.
• Paperback book sales grew 12.4 percent.
Yeah, the NYTimes is basically repeating the same mistake it made six months ago. It is confusing the ebook sales reported by the 45% of the industry represented by the AAP with the entirety of the market, and is misusing those stats to draw erroneous conclusions.
And that’s not the only mistake in this piece.
The NYTimes also said that B&N was sticking around because:
The Bookstore Industry Rebounds
Over all, bookstore sales rose 2.5 percent last year, to $11.17 billion, from $10.89 billion in 2014, according to the Census Bureau. It is the first time that bookstore sales have grown since 2007.
FYI: B&N has reported declining revenues for the past umpteenth years, so the fact that revenues across the bookstore retail industry are up doesn’t seem to be helping any. Also, last year’s bump in revenues has been widely attributed to coloring books (i.e. it’s a fluke).
And that’s not the most ridiculous reason Alexandra Alter gave for why B&N is sticking around.
You might want to sit down:
The Mom-and-Pop Stores
Independent stores may be the beneficiaries of the drop in Barnes & Noble’s retail base. The decline, along with other trends like the resurgence of print and the “shop local” movement, has most likely contributed to a resurgence in independent bookstores. After decades of decline, the number of independent bookstores is on the rise, according to membership data gathered by the American Booksellers Association:
• In 2010, there were 1,410 independent bookstores in 1,660 locations;
• In 2015, there were 1,712 indie stores in 2,227 locations.
Wait, so indies moving into the market niches abandoned by big-box booksellers like B&N is supposed to be a sign that B&N is sticking around?
Could someone explain that, because to me it makes about as much sense as if they had said that Ben Carson dropping out of the race for the GOP nomination guaranteed his chances of a victory in November.
It just doesn’t add up.
In fact, there’s nothing in the NYTimes piece that supports the premise that B&N will stick around. It’s just a collection of randomly gathered factoids about the book industry with no real connection to B&N or the premise that Alter is trying to argue.
image by orionpozo