Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

03/28/2012

Association of American Publishers: Book Sales Up in January :) Get the Numbers


Book Industry Growing Today

The AAP (Association of American Publishers) has some good news for the book industry. Random House sales were up in 2011 and overall book sales jumped in January 2012.

The two main reasons for this profit growth were cost-cutting and increased sales of e-books.

Matthew Flamm , Crain’s New York Business, reports these inside numbers:

Good news for the book industry

The book industry got good news on two fronts on Wednesday. Profits were up in 2011 at Random House Inc., parent company Bertelsmann reported. And book sales spiked in January, according to the Association of American Publishers.

At Random House, the world’s largest trade publisher, earnings before interest and taxes rose 7%, compared to the prior year, to $246 million. The gains came from cost-cutting and increased sales of e-books, which have better margins than physical books. Revenue for the year fell 4%, to $2.3 billion.

George R. R. Martin’s five-volume fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire also helped, selling 8 million copies in North America.

For the industry, overall trade book sales in January spiked 27%, to $504 million, compared to the same month in 2011. Among the fastest growing categories were children’s hardcover books, which were up 69% to $57 million; adult hardcover, which increased 22% to $70 million, and e-books, which grew 49% to $100 million.

The January figures marked the debut of a new methodology for the Association of American Publishers, which is now tracking 1,149 publishers, up from an average of 75 to 90 in the past. The newly added publishers have contributed year-ago numbers so that the comparisons are on a like to like basis.

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08/17/2011

Amazon Publishing – Print is Thriving – And Other Insider Information


Awesome Amazon ???

Amazon’s business makes publishers nervous because it’s finally allowing the online retailer to cut publishers out of the loop entirely. Amazon is making more of its own books, and it’s got the authors to sell them.”

Amazon is adding more writers and renowned authors to its own company’s publishing imprints to produce new books directly for the reading consumer and bypass other established ‘publishers’ entirely. 

Gaining control of the online digital book retail business just seemed to whet Amazon’s appetite to gobble up more control in the bigger publishing business (in disruption due to the new tech transition) … including print, which is doing just fine right now, thank you very much. 

These interesting details provided by Anthony John Agnello , consumer and technology writer for InvestorPlace:

Amazon Publishing Continues to Boom With New Exclusives

Traditional publishers being pushed out of the picture

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) frightens book publishers. Not because electronic books are going to replace print by September. Far from it. Print is thriving, and while e-book sales have grown 1,300% in the past three years, they still represent only a fraction of overall revenue in the publishing industry. Amazon’s business makes publishers nervous because it’s finally allowing the online retailer to cut publishers out of the loop entirely. Amazon is making more of its own books, and it’s got the authors to sell them.

A Tuesday report in The New York Times said Amazon has made its latest promising acquisition in an ever-growing stable of authors producing original books for the company. Timothy Ferriss, the self-help author behind the bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, will release his new book The 4-Hour Chef exclusively through Amazon Publishing imprint.

4-Hour Workweek has spent 84 weeks on the Times‘ Advice bestseller list. That book was published by Crown, an imprint under the Bertelsmann-owned Random House. Ferris never entertained a counteroffer from his previous publisher after talking with Amazon because they would not have been able to match what Amazon was offering as “a technology company embracing new technology.”

This is just the latest major publishing effort from Amazon since editor Laurence Kirshbaum came on as head of Amazon Publishing in May. Imprint Montlake Romance, an all-romance branch of Amazon Publishing, opened for business in May. Connie Brockway’s The Other Guy’s Bride will be the imprint’s first book out this fall. Brockway’s previous books were distributed under the Dell Publishing mass-market imprint, another house under the Random House banner.

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Related post: Is Amazon a Danger Lurking in the Publishing Industry?

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10/24/2008

Information Overload on Writing, Agents and Publishing!


Welcome to my blog! My name is John R. Austin and I’m a writer. I am starting this blog because of the info overload “out there” relating to writing, getting literary agents and the state of the publishing industry in general!

Check these stats from an article by Walt Shiel. Are they true or not?

The “Hard Truths” About Book PublishingArticle by Walt Shiel

Let’s consider some of the “hard truths” about the publishing industry.If you’re at all serious about publishing, whether self-publishing or not, you really need to be aware of some basic statistics about the industry. They aren’t pretty and may tend to be discouraging. But would you rather jump into these treacherous waters with a head full of platitudes and myths… or with a clear-eyed view of how things really are?I think you are far better off understanding what’s really going on and what you, as an author and would-be self-publisher, are really up against.

So, without further belaboring the point, here goes.Book publishing in the U.S. has exploded over the past few years. Here are the number of new English-language titles published per year in the U.S., as reported by R. R. Bowker (the keeper of U.S. ISBNs and publisher of Books-in-Print):

195,000 titles in 2004
295,000 in 2006 (a 51% increase in two years)
411,000 in 2007 (a 39% increase in only one year)

In 2004, there were just under one million books in print (new and backlist). Last year, there were almost three million in print. Offset printing (the traditional method using the large roll- or sheet-fed printing equipment that is cost-effective for larger print runs only) accounted for only about 1% of the 411,000 new titles printed in 2007; the rest were printed using digital printing technology (print-on-demand) that is only cost-effective for short print runs.Why do you suppose the number of new titles more than doubled in three years? Can you spell subsidy publishing (in the guise of the plethora of self-proclaimed “self-publishing companies”)? Three decades ago, there were only 357 publishers with books listed in Books-in-Print. Today, there are only six major (New York) publishers, maybe 400 mid-size publishers, and almost 100,000 small publishers (which includes the large number of self-publishers). More than 10,000 new (mostly small) publishers go into business each year. Of course, many of those small publishers fail every year, too, but that’s common in most businesses (lots of new start-ups quickly fail).The six major New York publishers are Random House, Penguin Putnam, HarperCollins, Holtzbrinck, Hachette (formerly Time Warner Books), and Simon & Schuster. Of those, only Simon & Schuster is still American-owned. Ever wonder why more and more foreign authors are being published by major “American” publishers? Now that you know how many new titles are published and how many publishers are publishing them, you might wonder how many are being sold? That is a far more difficult question to answer reliably, since publishers are notorious for overstating actual book sales. However, we can turn again to Bowker for some statistics:

93% of all titles sell less than 1,000 copies
Overall average sales for all titles is about 500 copies
7% of titles account for 87% of sales (mostly from the big NY publishers)

So, where are those books actually sold? If you guessed mostly in bookstores, guess again. Here’s the breakdown (the ranges are because it depends on what source you rely on):

Chain bookstores account for 25-33%
Independent bookstores (including used book stores) account for 3-10%Online book retailers account for 21% (almost all Amazon.com)

That means 36-52% of all book sales come from non-bookstore outlets. What’s a non-bookstore outlet? Gift shops, grocery stores, drug stores, “big box” stores (Wal-Mart, Costco, etc.), book clubs, back-of-the-room sales, direct-to-consumer sales, and on and on. The opportunities are limited only by your imagination and marketing efforts.You can choose to self-publish and compete in the bookstores for that 28-43% of the total market, which means you’re competing against Random House, Simon & Schuster et al who can afford to buy those end-cap and front window display locations. Or you can choose to compete primarily in the online and non-bookstore markets that represent the remaining.The choice is yours and should be driven by your detailed marketing plan for your book. You do have a detailed marketing plan, right? Trying to sell books without a marketing plan is like taking a long trip into unknown territory without a map — you might reach your destination but the odds are against you.If you don’t really know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? Or when you’re way off course?
7:44:00 PM
by John Austin
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