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The First Comprehensive Report on Used-Book Sales

New insights into used-book vs. new-book purchases from primary research with booksellers and book buyers now available from BISG

Just off the press, Used-Book Sales: A Study of the Behavior, Structure, Size and Growth of the U.S. Used-Book Market, estimates that revenues from sales of used books in the United States topped $2.2 billion in 2004, representing more than 111 million copies sold and 8.4% of total consumer spending on books.

Created and published by the Book Industry Study Group, Used-Book Sales is the industry’s first comprehensive and in-depth study of the entire used-book market. It includes data provided by Abebooks, Alibris, Amazon, Barnes &, Biblio, eBay, and Powell’s, along with data from more than 500 other booksellers and more than 2000 book buyers. The report’s findings are illustrated with 94 graphs and charts.

Through the "Consumer Survey Findings" section of Used-Book Sales, students indicate that nearly 75 percent of their used-book spending was for books that were available new. Similarly, 60 to 65 percent of non-student book buyers who purchased a used book did so even though a new copy was available.

"The rapid growth of the general trade used book market is a direct result of the Internet eliminating much of the friction in the buying and selling process," says Jeff Hayes, Group Director for InfoTrends and principal analyst for the study. "Used books are now a factor in the business equation for publishers and booksellers."

Bookstores are "likely to focus on the implication that at least three out of every ten used-book purchases are sales that would not have happened if used books had not been available," Hayes notes. In the judgment of roughly two thirds of the booksellers represented in the report’s "Bookseller Survey Findings" section, used copies of a book do not affect sales of new copies.

For a quick overview of the report’s coverage of used-book sales, see the Table of Contents listing at To order Used-Book Sales, visit

The Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG), is the industry’s leading trade association for policy, standards, and research. The mission of BISG is to create a more informed, empowered, and efficient book industry supply chain. Its members are publishers, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, librarians, and others engaged in the business of print and electronic media. For nearly 30 years, BISG has provided a forum for all industry professionals to come together and efficiently address issues and concerns to advance the book community.

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