Book Publishing Is Growing

Article excerpt

During the past several months, we have experienced droughts, record-high temperatures, hurricanes, and earthquakes, not to mention some miserable economic news and a government budget crisis.

But it's not all bad news. Some industries keep plugging along, and some are even expanding. The U.S. book publishing industry is one bright spot, according to a recently released report that details strong 3-year growth in net revenue and unit sales. Publishing is definitely on the uptick, especially ebooks.

"BookStats" claims to be the deepest, most comprehensive statistical survey ever conducted on the modern U.S. publishing industry, capturing its size, scope, revenue, and rapid strategic expansion across multiplatform content and sales distribution channels. According to the report, Americans are reading actively in all print and digital formats. Last year, 114 million ebooks were sold, a 1,039% increase since 2008. Ebooks now account for 13.6% of revenue from adult fiction. In contrast, 603 million trade hardcover books (fiction and nonfiction) were sold last year, a 5.8% increase since 2008.

Even professional and scholarly publishing show gains. The professional market's $3.7 billion net sales revenue was up 6.3% over 2008. Scholarly publishing experienced 4.7% growth since 2008, with $191 million net sales revenue for 2010. The higher education category posted a significant 23.1% increase in net sales revenue for publishers over the 3 years. Net revenue for the category was $4.5 billion in 2010.

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For years, the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. each produced an annual survey to track publishers' new revenue and unit sales, focusing on their separate areas of expertise. In 2010, recognizing that the entire industry was making strategic decisions amid transformational changes around content creation, production, and distribution, they partnered to design a survey with a new analytic model to examine the total U.S. publishing industry more effectively.

The methodology for "BookStats" includes source data for 3 years (2008-2010) from nearly 2,000 publishers, additional databases, and resources. Organizations represent the full spectrum of the U.S. publishing industry: large, medium, and small; major content companies to nonprofits; and the entire scope of consumer, educational, professional, scholarly markets. "BookStats" examines the industry from three distinct angles: publishing categories, publishing formats, and sales distribution channels. An analytical cube was created so the data could be examined (see figure). The "BookStats" survey is available for purchase along with a supplemental online dashboard to customize data. …