Publishers' Outlook 2011
According to West Academic's Justin Hummel, the company's digital tools, such as The West Education Network (TWEN) "are changing how people are using [and] accessing content."
BB: How has your audience responded to e-books?
Alexander: Our fiction audience, in particular, has responded extremely well to e-books. "The Common English Bible," the new Bible translation being marketed and distributed by Abingdon Press, has had excellent response in e-book format from when the very first downloads were available. Numerous digital versions (for all types of e-reader devices) of the "New Testament" are now available.
Calendar 2010 sales for Kindle e-books alone will be approximately $10,000 per month. This is expected to increase significantly in 2011, likely to double the current growth rate with the additional backlist titles we are offering and the multiple e-book distribution channels available.
BB: Have religious bookstores become less important to your distribution strategy? What is the trend in terms of retail sales for your market?
Alexander: Religious bookstores remain very important to us, and "The Common English Bible" has brought us into even more dynamic marketing and distribution relationships with important Christian bookstore groups such as Parable, Munce, Covenant and Family Christian as well as many CBA [The Association for Christian Retail] independent stores.
Our Vacation Bible School (VBS) [church summer camp] programs are being carried in many Christian bookstores, including Lifeway stores, and these are important and growing relationships for Abingdon Press products in all categories.
The launch of our fiction line generated a tremendous positive trend in our sales through trade bookstores such as B&N, Borders and [American Booksellers Association] independents, and we are preparing for a new sales relationship with one of the … big-box warehouse chains. Our future publishing plans will make these traditional bookstore sales channels even more important to us, but for pastoral leadership, church school curriculum, Bibles and VBS products, there is no diminishing role for religious bookstores, and those products fall into some of our most important publishing categories.