Pinkshirts killing SF/F 2

It was rather amusing to see some people attempting to shake off yesterday’s post on the decline in science fiction by pointing to the fact that overall print fiction had declined 8 percent, so the 7 percent decline in science fiction meant that the genre was actually outperforming. Never mind the fact that it had declined 21 percent the year before…. and after a little more research, I discovered that it had declined 21 percent the year before that as well.

In fact, SF print sales are now about half what they were in 2008. I don’t place TOO much confidence in this chart, because it shows around 4 million in 2012, whereas the PW numbers indicate they should be around 5.6 million. But it does suffice to indicate that what we are witnessing is a pretty serious trend and one that involves more than the mere shift to ebooks.

A decline from a combined 26 million in print sales to 12.7 million in only five years is bordering on the cataclysmic; remember, ebooks eliminate any need for the expensive structure of the mainstream genre publishers, a fact that has probably not escaped the owners of Tor and other imprints. I’ll put together some charts once I get some better numbers, but the point is that the anecdotal evidence of people increasingly avoiding the Pink SF produced by the self-appointed gatekeepers is supported by the data trend.