According to statistics, economic spending was down between Thanksgiving & Christmas. With so much upheaval in our economics, from those losing their homes and jobs to the auto industry and lending companies, consumers simply didn't buy as much or as expensive items this year.
All of this economic downturn will affect the work we as authors put out this coming year. I think the industry as a whole will put out less books as publishers trim their releases and those self-publishing their work find they lack the capital to do so. In the long run, I don't think this is a bad thing. There will be less competition and (in theory) higher quality works available for consumers. So a slow year might benefit some publishers and authors.
Even if today's "after-Christmas" spending figures are lower than normal, I still have hope for an upturn for next year. After all, the economic crisis is not equally felt in all areas of the country, despite the doom & gloom of the media. Our town just got its third Starbucks! Buildings & businesses are still going up. And our Christmas spending was not affected by any economic downturn. (Actually, we went a little nuts this year!) I think smart decisions and a refusal to panic will get us all through.
So, here's to faith that next year holds even more promise!