Bookish Buyers Back Off

The books, music and video market totaled 3.5 million active names in the first quarter of 2009, according to list brokerage services firm ParadyszMatera. That amount is down 96,000 — or 2.65% — from the first quarter of 2008.

Though analysts have noted that consumers have opted for home entertainment vs. going out during the recession, Susan Davis, director of research and analysis for New York-based ParadyszMatera, says the slight drop in names has to do with lists being taken off the market. Merchants such as Christian Book Distributors, Movies Unlimited and Critics’ Choice have seen their house files grow.

But books-on-tape seller Audio Editions decided to take its names off the market when its list broker, Names & Addresses, went out of business. Breakthrough Publications, which sells books that cater to the equine market, also removed its names from market.

Only four merchants have house files exceeding 100,000. And Christian Book Distributors is the only list with more than 1 million names.

But overall, Davis says, “a 2.6% decline is not too bad when compared to the gifts and home segments.” The home segment saw a 4% drop during the same period.

What’s more, customers who purchase books, music and video from catalogs tend to be hooked into buying via the print channel, Davis says. “It seems like a very loyal group of customers.”

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