I am one of those people who tend to read consistently throughout the year, so it came as a suprise to me when someone mentioned that bookselling is a seasonal business, and that some genres sell better during certain months.
Has anyone noticed these trends? Do sales normally plunge during August when most children are finished with their summer programs, and their parents are scambling to keep them entertained until school begins in September? Do sales decrease around Christmastime due to all the gift shopping people are doing instead of reading, and then increase again in January when people are loading up their new Kindles? And, is it worth it to waste time and money on marketing during those periods rather than just riding them out?
Please share your experience.
I hadn't heard of this before. Interesting.
Hmm. Very strange, I suppose that for some people reading is seasonal but, I read year round so I'm not really sure...
As an ex-employee of a national bookselling chain, and the husband of one of their General Managers, I've witnessed this cycle every year.
There's a core constituency who purchase books year-round, about 80% of whom are women, then there's the rest of society, who purchase books as gifts for special occasions or because Oprah told them to. Of course, that core group tend to give books as gifts as well.
Occasion buying is definitely seasonal, tied to the major holidays and stuff like back-to-school buying and the cycles of sports and other televised events. Fiction is a steady seller, although it too rises and falls on a schedule, but the rest is highly susceptible to the fluctuations of the seasons.
I could probably steal some data and make a chart, but that would get my wife fired if people found out. :P
Who knows? Maybe the data's public somewhere.
Anyhow, I don't think reading is seasonal, but bookselling, like all retail, is.
Damn. In a preliminary survey of economic statistic sites, book retailers are generally lumped in with "Sporting and Leisure Goods"
Thank you for your response. Please don't do anythng that would get your wife fired. LOL Definately not worth it. It's interesting to learn these little facts.
a-HA! Financial reports for Indigo Books and Music in Canada:
The general trend seems to be fairly steady sales followed by a spike in sales in the quarter ending in December.
I guess my perception of seasonality has to do with the chain's merchandising changes throughout the year more than actual sales, except in the months leading up to the holiday season.