Despite bad winter weather and an even bleaker economic climate, Canadian book sales were up by 6% in the last three months of 2008, according to a report released today by BookNet Canada. But according to the agency’s BNC SalesData service, which tracks sales at more than 1,000 stores across the country, the actual dollar value of those transactions rose by only 2% in Q4, reflecting the lower prices on many books.
The BookNet figures corroborate anecdotal evidence unearthed in Q&Q Omni‘s annual holiday sales roundup of indie bookstores, which found that retailers were basking in the warm glow of positive customer response to lowered book prices “ that is, until bad weather hit across the country in the weeks before Christmas.
However, the BookNet report does put a figure on the effect that lower book prices are having on retailers’ revenues. According to the report, the average list price was down by about 6% in December, compared to the previous year; hardcover prices dropped by 8% for the same period. Given the lower prices, the 5% bump in unit sales for the month of December translated into relatively flat revenue, which was up by just 0.5%.