Dimitri reports lackluster sales for popular Civil War titles in 2005. What do these numbers mean? Hard to tell, but my guess is that we are in need of another kick-start to revive the industry. The generation that lived through the Civil War centennial celebrations is no longer buying books at the same rate and the interest that Ken Burns’s PBS documentary sparked is all but played out. Perhaps the Civil War sequicentennial and/or Lincoln’s bicentennial will attract new readers. I remain skeptical. It is too early to predict how these lackluster sales will impact the publishing industry-something I know nothing about.
Interest in the Civil War is declining. A perfect place to see this is in the attendance at your local Civil War roundtable. (See my post, “RIP: Civil War Roundtables” for more detail.) Of course those interested in “Civil War entertainment” continue to run amuck and declining book sales constitute no threat whatsoever.