Industry Statistics: Looking Behind the Numbers
Industry Trends Impact
Publishers of All Sizes
Michael Healy, BISG executive director, says, “[BISG’s] ‘Trends’ reports are used principally in a strategic way by corporate planners concerned with what trends are taking place within the industry. They are also used by many investors inside and outside of the industry interested in its general directions.”
Some may think that the bulk of the 12,000 or so mid-range to smaller publishers in the United States who do between $50,000 and $1 million in sales annually are better off paying attention to their marketing niche. For them, overall industry trends are in the category of climate change—a cosmic phenomenon that one has to live with, but what many perceive as being something you can do little about. But in fact, those cosmic trends can come home to roost in the smallest nest.
Confidence in the health and direction of the publishing industry is also important to smaller publishers who depend on lines of credit, who are seeking to expand or sell their businesses, and startups raising investment capital. Anyone who has brought a business plan to their branch banker will know how useful it is to anchor the prospects for their business in the stability and maturity of the industry as a whole.
Same Industry, Different Data
The interesting and sometimes confusing aspect of industry data is that BISG and AAP reports often arrive at different outcomes. For example, for 2006, compared to 2005, AAP reported a 0.3-
percent drop in revenues to $24.2 billion in industry sales, while BISG reported a 4.1-percent increase to $38.1 billion.
Tina Jordan, AAP vice president, points out that AAP uses different databases and economic models to serve different purposes. “AAP’s data is compiled based on facts gathered from the major book publishing media stakeholders via AAP’s monthly data-
collection industry service—the only statistical information servicing the book industry with factual data representing more than 80 participating publishers on a month-to-month frequency,” says Jordan. “To the greatest extent possible, the AAP uses no econometric modeling to develop its industry statistics. The raw data we receive directly from the major publishing industry stakeholders, and on a monthly basis––complemented by Census Bureau data––reaffirms the strength and accuracy in the data reported.”
- American Booksellers Association
- Association of American Publishers
- Book Publishing Report
- Evangelical Christian Publishers Association
- Fordham University
- Independent Publishers Group
- National Association of College Stores
- National Book Network (NBN)
- Nielsen Media Research
- Publishers Weekly
- Simba Information
- The Book Industry Study Group
Eugene G. Schwartz is editor at large for ForeWord Reviews, an industry observer and an occasional columnist for Book Business magazine. In an earlier career, he was in the printing business and held production management positions at Random House, Prentice-Hall/Goodyear and CRM Books/Psychology Today. A former PMA (IBPA) board member, he has headed his own publishing consultancy, Consortium House. He is also Co-Founder of Worthy Shorts Inc., a development stage online private press and publication service for professionals as well as an online back office publication service for publishers and associations. He is on the Publishing Business Conference and Expo Advisory Board.