Bookstore sales in May 2007 were down compared with a year ago, says an article in today’s The Book Standard, quoting a decrease of 0.4 percent from a report by the U.S. Census Bureau. The same article said bookstore sales for the year so far are down as are sales for the entire retail sector. The figures do not take into account online book sales.
The key here, I think, is the last sentence. Bookstores are taking a beating from online stores -- in addition to all the other distractions that keep people from reading in the first place. TV, theaters, and especially the Internet. The good news for the book industry is that reading on a monitor is hard work and tiring, whereas reading a book isn't so much so.