Guest Column: Sizing Up a Changing Industry
The first step was listening. We interviewed more than 40 industry stakeholders (large and independent publishers, retailers, wholesalers, associations, data partners and members of the media) to help define a statistical product that would be the most valuable to each of their areas.
And the industry responded. Our goal was to have 700 publishers participate by providing data, a significant number exceeding the extent of contributors to AAP's and BISG's previous, independent surveys. To date, we have more than 1,100 publisher participants in BookStats. We received invaluable support from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, Publishers Association of the West and International Digital Publishing Forum, along with wholesale, distribution and retail communities.
As a result, BookStats will have the most robust publisher data collection ever undertaken in the industry: a comprehensive representation of vertical markets in terms of revenue, size and geography. The range covers the scope of the contemporary publishing and book industries—from the largest to smallest organizations.
That data is being converted into analytics offering the most substantive three-dimensional view of the industry based on the continued fundamental principle of publisher revenue and units. That "cube," as we call it, will be broken down in three ways:
1. By format: physical (hardcover, paperback, audio and mass-market) and non-physical (e-book, enhanced e-books, apps, downloadable audio and bundles)
2. By category: adult fiction and nonfiction, children's (including juvenile, middle grade and young adult), religious, K-12, higher education, professional and scholarly
3. By distribution channels: physical retail (chains, independents, mass retailers and specialty stores), online retail, institutional sales (libraries, schools, government agencies), direct-to-consumer, jobbers, wholesalers, book clubs, book fairs and export sales.
The result will be a customizable tool kit—an online data dashboard—providing publishers with new ways to track themselves by revenue, units, category, format and channel views. The survey also will better inform those in related industries, such as investment bankers, who have long sought in-depth industry data and analysis. (More information about subscriptions is available at BookStats.org.)