The distribution network through which books get from the publisher to the reader is one that has been going through enormous change over the last few decades. First, the big box book stores moved into a space previously occupied by smaller retailers. Then, Amazon got into the business and started serving as both a wholesaler and a retailer, but one without a store front, operating entirely online. Since then, the rise of the electronic book, or ebook, has further altered the way that books make their way to the reader. The landscape for book distribution seems to be in a state of constant change these days, much as the music industry experienced a decade ago. The figures that follow are for the industry designated by the NAICS code 42-4920: Book, Periodical, and Newspaper Merchant Wholesalers.
Geographic reference: United States
Years: 1997, 2002 and 2007
Market size: Number of Establishments: 3,257; 3,464 and 2,789 respectively.
Market size: Sales: $33.63; $30.90 and $28.32 Billion respectively.
Market size: Employment: 89,309; 76,072 and 63,511 respectively.
Source: “Sector 42: EC0742I2: Wholesale Trade: Industry Series: Preliminary Comparative Statistics for the United States (2002 NAICS Basis): 2007 and 2002,” 2007 Economic Census, available online here. The data from 1997 are from the 1997 Economic Census.
Original Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.