There's Growth in Them There Stacks
Book publishers are keeping their fingers crossed that 2005 will be the year the industry shakes off the period of stagnation that has coincided with the U.S. economic downturn. The domestic market continued to remain essentially flat in 2004, but industry insiders are hopeful that the market will soon show growth.
The shift toward more flexible production schedules, and resurgence in educational and reference titles will likely be the engines that drive any industry upswing. Another trend in 2005 will be publishers aiming to enhance profitability by leveraging the cost benefits of digital printing and international sourcing.
Setting the Stage for Growth
Through September 2004, domestic book sales were up just one-tenth of a percent over 2003, according to the Association of American Publishers. Despite "The Da Vinci Code" phenomenon, hardcovers suffered double-digit declines in sales in several categories, including mass market and young adult categories, but were largely offset by gains in paperbacks. The fastest growing categories included religious titles and the small, but emerging market for e-books.
In addition to the slow recovery from recession, book sales in 2004 continued to be hampered by readers spending more time engaged with other media. Television, the Internet and other more interactive diversions will continue to vie for the reader's time and money, according to Dave Mead, senior vice president, sales and marketing, of Banta Book Group. Unfortunately for publishers, the increased adoption of broadband Internet access will give people more reasons to surf rather than turn pages in 2005, so the need for developing compelling titles will be even greater.
Educational publishing will be one of the industry segments showing growth in 2005, predicts Mead. "Barring continued state-funding problems, there should be a growth in [educational publishing] over the next three to four years as an increase in school enrollments coincide with state adoptions of larger curriculums like mathematics, reading, social studies and English," he says.
- Association of American Publishers
- Banta Book Group
- Banta Corp.
- ColorCentric Corp.
- Eastman Kodak, Kodak Versamark
- IBM Corporation
- InfoTrends / CAP Ventures
- Lightning Source Inc.
- Managing Editor Inc.
- Microsoft Corp.
- Muller Martini
- On Demand Machinery LLC
- People Magazine
- Quark Inc.
- WoodWing Software
- Xerox Corp.