Retail Details: History of Bookselling

by Talk Business & Politics ( 198 views 

Readers have long regarded bookstores as sanctuaries of sorts — and for good reason. After the invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg, the thirst for books became nearly unquenchable. Over time, book publishing became a major industry and U.S. Publishing revenues alone total $29.2 billion annually.

While the internet has changed the ways that many people get information, people still enjoy printed and electronic books.

Here are some interesting facts about book sales in the United States.


While printing was developed and took hold during the Renaissance, not everyone was happy about this advancement. Rulers and churchmen felt that a free press could be dangerous and in some areas demanded that books be licensed before publishing and distribution.


Think that the price of that academic hardcover is too high? Back in 1709, people living in England could file a complaint with the archbishop of Canterbury if they felt that a bookseller was charging more than he ought.


While Amazon is now known as a retail giant that sells pretty much everything under the sun, the company began as a bookseller in 1995. During its first year in business, Amazon posted revenues of $511,000.


The number of independent booksellers in the United States continues to grow. In 2009, there were 1,401 independent book companies in the U.S., operating 1,651 stores. In 2016, there are 1,775 companies operating 2,311 stores.


While e-books have proven enormously popular, their sales have taken a dive in recent years. In 2015, sales of e-books declined, particularly in the young adult category. However, digital audiobook sales have been on the upswing.

According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who have read a book in the past year is 73 percent. Twenty-eight percent of survey respondents say that they read an e-book, while 65 percent read a print book.