From The Wall Street Journal:
Book publishers are expected to release a torrent of major new titles this week, giving the business a much-needed jolt ahead of the holiday season.
It’s an industry looking for answers as Barnes & Noble Inc. struggles with declining sales at its key consumer-store group. And on the digital front, publishers are still finding their footing at a time when e-books compete for would-be readers’ attention against a range of other entertainment options.
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[T]he physical book business remains meaningful. “Publishers still believe in print,” said Jim Milliot, co-editorial director at Publishers Weekly.
Publishers are also counting on independent booksellers, some of which continue to benefit two years after the liquidation of Borders Group Inc., once the second-largest bookstore chain in the U.S.
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Publishers continue to aggressively market e-books. Devices like Amazon.com Inc.’s coming Kindle Fire HDX and other tablets are making it easy for consumers to buy tiles, but the same devices also offer consumers a range of other tempting entertainment choices. “Publishing is competing with everything, from cable to Netflix, and there is a fear that the pie is getting sliced ever thinner,” said Lorraine Shanley, president of publishing-industry consultants Market Partners International Inc.
The first half of the year was relatively soft for the book business as the industry struggled to generate blockbuster must-read titles. Publisher net digital book sales actually fell 4.8% to $766.8 million for the first six months ended June 30, according to the Association of American Publishers, in part because recent titles were unable to match the previously published “Hunger Games” and “Fifty Shades” trilogies.
Publisher net sales of physical books also declined during the first six months of 2013, with hardcover and paperback editions of adult fiction and nonfiction, along with children’s and religious titles, dropping 7.4% to roughly $2.14 billion compared with the first half of 2012, according to the trade group.
Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)