National Endowment of the Arts

Opportunity Knocks
April 16, 2008

Adult trade publishers with a “change is good” attitude are finding success in today’s market. From promoting literacy to experimenting with new marketing initiatives, such as social networking sites and author videos, and new distribution formats, such as e-books and digital downloads, industry leaders are now acting upon, not resisting, the significant turn the publishing world has been taking. Data indicates that while monthly sales fluctuate, overall, sales are still up, and many publishers are proactively striving to keep them that way. Last month, The Association of American Publishers (AAP) reported that adult hardbound book sales totaled $2.8 billion in 2007, a 7.8-percent increase

SPECIAL REPORT: Embracing the ‘Kindle Effect’
January 1, 2008

2007 might well be remembered as the year when, a few months after the final installment of “Harry Potter” hit the shelves to blockbuster acclaim, the “To Read or Not to Read” report was issued by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The report raised serious concerns about the future of reading in this country: Amount and proficiency are on the decline, the report found, especially among young adults and older teens. Then, there are new U.S. Census numbers, released in December 2007, that show that the number of hours per person spent reading consumer books has been basically flat over the

Content Crossroads & Distribution Junction
February 1, 2007

The hot-button issues in the book industry today surround an increased focus on content and alternative forms of distribution. Publishers are still keeping a watchful eye on the Internet and the fear that it may replace the print-based distribution business in the future. But there appears to be a greater acceptance and realization that “content” is a publisher’s real asset, and that the delivery method means nothing if the content isn’t outstanding. An increased focus on content, book search tools, digital distribution, a declining print readership, increased used-book sales, rising fuel and paper costs, and decreasing bookshelf space in retail superstores are all

Book Readers: A Dying Breed?
April 1, 2006

Some interviews stick out in an editor’s memory long after the story has been sent to press. My interview with Dominique Raccah, president and CEO of Sourcebooks, will be one of those (page 33). Her energy and enthusiasm leaves little question as to how she built a multimillion-dollar business, and why her books continue to see double-digit sell-through increases. But she did leave me with another question: With the primary book-reading audience (baby boomers) aging, what will happen when that audience is gone? A year and a half ago, the National Endowment for the Arts released the results of a survey called “Reading at

Will Print Be Extinct ? Again?
January 4, 2005

It's been more than a decade since the first mass of commercial Web sites were launched and far longer since people began predicting the extinction of print. In March 1999, Princeton University history professor Robert Darnton wrote an article in the New York Review of Books that read: Marshall McLuhan's future has not happened. The Web, yes; global immersion in television, certainly; media and messages everywhere, of course. But the electronic age did not drive the printed word into extinction, as McLuhan prophesied in 1962. McLuhan, an English professor, media analyst and book author, predicted the demise of the printed word 43 years