Industry Statistics: Looking Behind the Numbers
According to BISG, by comparison, the “older, more visible segment of the industry measured by conventional tracking systems generates annual revenues of $23.7 billion to $28.5 billion, depending on the source of the estimate.”
The new research made a significant impact on the industry’s overall reported sales. Says Healy, “The decision to fold into ‘Trends’ the ‘Under the Radar’ data was in some quarters an overdue and popular measure as a true reflection of the market. There are also some who felt that it was overstated. It seems to me, though, that our industry is very diverse, and much of the growth is being generated by the smaller publishers.”
Getting Inside the Reporting
In his introduction to “Trends 2007,” Healy observed that because of their narrow reporting bases, both the Census Bureau and AAP “underrepresent [the] important segment comprising smaller publishers,” and to a considerable extent “ignore books sold by the publishing arms of companies in other industries, institutions of various sorts, and not-for-profit organizations and associations.”
There are numerous loose ends in the various reporting systems that make different organizations’ figures difficult to compare. For example, AAP data absorbs standardized test data in the college and elementary-high school (el-hi) markets in the overall sales reporting of educational publishers. BISG breaks out this $2 billion segment.
Neither AAP nor BISG report on subsidiary rights revenue—an increasingly important increment of sales in the industry—although Jordan says AAP is exploring it.
AAP reports $54.4 million in e-book sales for 2006, while BISG does not yet report e-book sales. Neither AAP nor BISG are certain whether subscription revenues for electronic publishing in the reference and professional segments—a significant income producer in the library market—are completely represented in either report.
Jordan notes that audio book sales are separately reported in AAP monthly and annual data. According to those reports, book publishers’ audio sales for 2005 were $206.3 million. For the entire audio book industry, the APA reports $871 million for 2005.
- 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
- United States
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.