Hillary Clinton’s memoirs had the highest opening day sales in the history of nonfiction. The fifth Harry Potter book will undoubtedly have the biggest launch ever for a work of fiction. But the publishing industry is in trouble and most publishers are struggling economically.
Here’s an article about the increasingly bifurcated industry. There’s a small handful of blockbusters, while all the other books released each year struggle to find audiences. There are many reasons, but WalMart and Costco play a significant role. They can only stock about one hundred books a year, but they sell so many of those deeply discounted bestsellers that they have become a dominant force in the industry. And in their space, sales figures are the only criteria that matter. Independent publishers and booksellers are left to find niches left behind by the blockbuster mentality.