Industry Statistics: Looking Behind the Numbers
It seems to me that our present trends-reporting model no longer completely describes the distribution realities for the book publishing industry. It is now a multimedia, multichannel industry in its own right. We are truly a media business.
BISG “Trends” has an opportunity to adapt its reporting to the need for metrics and trends data that reflect this new reality. If we really want to measure the health and promise of the industry, I would like to see “Trends” provide comparisons each year of both totals and changes in the numbers of bookstores, libraries, schools, colleges, discount stores, airport newsstands, etc., all of which measure the potential reach for the industry.
I would like to see sales reporting for independent distributors (such as Independent Publishers Group, National Book Network, Perseus, etc.) who carry considerable economic weight, in addition to the wholesaler/jobber category. And, of course, title and revenue growth in audio, CD, video, e-book and electronic publishing. And, metrics that would describe the new supply chain of digital asset distribution.
Our industry is changing rapidly, and some industry experts believe it may be unrecognizable in 10 to 15 years. The reporting systems that the industry relies on today need to be unbound, reshaped and allowed to report freely on the diversity of activity that is emerging in the publishing industry, and that will describe it in the future. BB
Eugene G. Schwartz is a regular contributor to Book Business. He is a publishing industry analyst, writer and editor-at-large for Foreword Magazine. A former PMA board member, he is president of Consortium House, a management and business consultancy to publishers. He previously was a manufacturing, production and operations executive.
- 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.