Wal-Mart Can Sure Move Some Books

Publisher's Weekly notes another "Wal-Mart effect," this one in the book business, where new data confirms what many in the industry suspected: that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is a key channel for sales of fiction and mass market paperbacks.

Nielsen BookScan began including book sales from Wal-Mart in its service starting with the week ending January 6, 2013, and the addition shed at least some light on the impact that the world’s largest retailer has in the book indusstry. Wal-Mart’s figures are part of the mass merchandisers and others strata within BookScan, and print units in that segment rose 65% in the first week of 2013 compared to the first week of 2012. While other factors could have contributed to the increase, there is little doubt that the bulk of the gain was due to the addition of Wal-Mart.

The report also notes that while some thought the world's largest retailer was cutting back shelf space for mass market paperbacks, the numbers suggest healthy growth in that category.

And as big as Wal-Mart is, the so-called "retail and club" segment of sales, which includes outlets like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores, accounted for about 84 percent of print unit sales in the week.