Barnes & Noble, through its combination of physical bookstores and, remained the largest outlet for the sale of trade books in 2010. That was one of the first findings from Bowker’s annual rollup of its monthly book consumer tracking program, PubTrack Consumer. According to PubTrack, B&N’s share of spending on trade books rose from 22.5% in 2009 to 23.0%; sales exclude used books. While B&N held onto the top spot, Amazon showed the strongest gain in the year, capturing 15.1% of print trade book dollar sales in 2010 compared to 12.5% in 2009. Borders’s share dropped, though not as much as may have been expected. The struggling chain accounted for 13.1% of trade book sales, down from 14.0% in 2009.

The biggest loss of market share among the major outlets was not from Borders but from Wal-Mart. The share of trade books sold through the nation’s largest retailer fell from 7.0% in 2009 to 5.8% last year. The drop at Wal-Mart is most likely due to declining popularity of mass market paperbacks, since that format has been the strongest at the chain. Supermarkets and grocery stores, another outlet that has relied heavily on mass market paperbacks, also had a decline in market share last year.

Market Share of Major Outlets for Trade Books, 2009–2010

(based on dollars)

Outlet 2009 2010
Barnes & Noble 22.5% 23.0% 12.5 15.1
Borders 14.0 13.1
Wal-Mart 7.0 5.8
Warehouse clubs 3.6 4.0
Independents 3.4 3.5
Books-A-Million 2.8 2.7
Target 2.0 1.9
Supermarket/grocery 2.0 1.7

Source: bowker pubtrack consumer.