Industry Statistics: Looking Behind the Numbers
To the extent that this raw data reflects a broad profile of marketplace behavior, it can be a valuable measure of month-to-month changes and sector volatility within each year, as well as year over year.
“The benefits of having two reports allows the industry to analyze data based on how the user may want to analyze the data, based on the individual methodologies,” says Jordan. “… Over the past year, we have also worked with organizations such as the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association to capture complementary data in the religious category, and the International Digital Publishing Forum in the e-book category. And we are in preliminary discussions with the Audio Publishers Association to see how we may be able to pool our resources.”
For BISG, “Trends” is a major data-
gathering and interpretive program, and is BISG’s most costly program. It utilizes data gathered by Robert M. Wharton and Albert Greco at Fordham University from numerous sources such as trade associations, quarterly reports of major publishers, Wall Street financial analysts, U.S. government and private statistical agencies, national and international non-governmental organizations, and financial institutions. These are then folded into a complex forecasting model explained in detail in the report.
A major breakthrough in bringing industry reporting in line with reality came two years ago when, as a consequence of a decade of advocacy by PMA, The Independent Book Publishers Association, BISG expanded its database to include sales data from an estimated 63,000 publishing companies with annual revenues less than $50 million. The result: BISG’s “Under the Radar: A Breakthrough, In-Depth Study of the Book Industry’s Underreported Segments and Channels” showed that those publishers with annual revenues of less than $50 million generate aggregate sales of $14.2 billion. The report also found that a subset of that population—the 3,600 or so publishers with annual revenues of $1 million to $49.9 million—generates $11.5 billion of that amount.
- 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.