BookStats Survey Finds Industry on Growth Curve

Preliminary results from an ambitious new book publishing industry survey show growth in both revenues and units sold across the contemporary book publishing landscape.

The “BookStats” survey, which was unveiled today at Book Expo America, resulted from a partnership between the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). It incorporates net sales revenue and unit data from more than 1100 U.S. publishers, from those with over $500 million in sales to the smallest. Publishers in the survey had to have at least one ISBN published in the past three years as recorded by RR Bowker.

“From these 1100 source publishers we see units from the last three years are up, and we also see, more importantly, that dollars are up,” said Kelly Gallagher, vice president of publishing services at RR Bowker. “Year over year we have positive percentage gains for our industry in these two areas … Folks, that is really good news.

“We are as an industry undergoing tectonic shifts, and are still growing. There are a lot of industries, music being one of them, that would not be able to tell you that.”

Growth was seen for publishers of all sizes with medium- and small-sized publishers leading the way. Over 50 percent of the publishers surveyed were enjoying growth, Gallagher said.

Data is broken down by content categories (trade fiction and non-fiction, juvenile, religious, K-12, higher education, professional and scholarly); formats (physical and non-physical delivery platforms); and distribution channel.

Not surprisingly, hardcover and softcover markets have seen declines, while digital formats such as e-books and apps are growing.

Adult fiction is “a stalwart category” enjoying healthy growth, as are all categories of juvenile titles, Gallagher said. Nonfiction adult, however is “struggling.”

While chain bookstores are registering predicable declines, independent bookstores are holding their own, showing stable sales or just slight declines. “I think it’s a great story line that the independents are showing some resiliency,” Gallagher said.

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  • http://LyndaWilliams Lynda Williams

    Exciting to see evidence of rising readership. Always found it hard to believe reading was going to become extinct. At SOME point people have to get their fill of quick and visual and want to work with other parts of their brains. The huge interest in writing, too, suggests we do have those other brain parts. :-)