Cover Story: Publishers' Outlook 2012: The Industry's Next Bold Move
Hayes: Romance novels tend to have happy endings and make you feel good, which in a not-terrific environment is good, but they're also quite inexpensive relative to other choices you could make. I do think there's an absolute point where, if there's a lot of economic pressure, it still is a discretionary purchase, and so to what degree do you start getting impacted by that if it continues for a long time? Which sort of feels like where we are now.
Howard: What do you see as your biggest challenge and/or opportunity in the coming year?
Hayes: I would probably say digital on both sides. The biggest opportunity is: How big is this digital growth going to be next year? We think that growth could be relatively high.
On the other hand, what impact will that have on print, and will that add up to 100 or 90 or 130 [percent of last year's revenues]? When you look at the AAP [Association of American Publishers] stats for this year and you look at mass market, trade and hardcover for U.S., you say, "Huh. There's $4 billion worth of sales there on an annual basis. It's been $4 billion more or less for the last five years maybe, but now a billion of it's digital." So you know, we look at that and say, "It's still $4 billion, there's just a bunch of shifting around between formats." So the challenge is managing that shift.
Publisher and Founder • Akashic Books
A former member of indie band Girls Against Boys, Johnny Temple started Akashic in 1997 as an outlet for dark urban fiction. In 2011, author Adam Mansbach and illustrator Ricardo Cortés' "Go the F--k to Sleep" (something of a children's book for parents) became an out-of-the-blue bestseller for the small (25 to 30 titles per year) house. Temple spoke with Book Business from Akashic's offices in Brooklyn.