Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Recent Stats on Book Sales Unsettling

Just when a person thinks the economy can't get any worse and that book sales will start to increase again, along comes a website just loaded with startling statistics that make book sales seem all the more elusive and difficult.

According to New Book Titles and Editions, 2002 - 2010, by Bowker, it looks like there will soon be far more books in print than available readers if publishing trends continue.

Bowker's list includes broad genres, and the number of books published in that genre each year between 2002 and 2010. Publications move along pretty steadily. Not alwasy, but usually there's a slight increase in the number of books published each year. The exception to this is the category of Fiction, which saw an 89% increase in the number of titles published over this eight year period.

But more astounding, is the category titled "Non-traditional". Bowker defines non-traditional as consisting largely of reprints, often public domains, and other titles printed on-demand (POD). This category had an unbelievable increase of 280% in 2009. The number of books published non-traditionally between 2008 and 2009 went from 271,851 to 1,033,065. Again that was a 280% jump.

From 2009 to 2010 the category jumped another 169%, with 2,766,260 books published non-traditionally in 2010. All told this category jumped 8406% between 2002 and 2010.

Ultimately, over 2/3 of all books published between 2002 and 2010 were in this non-traditional category. And this does NOT take into account those books published that did not have an ISBN number!

So, what accounts for this? It seems pretty obvious that in large part this jump is the result of people discovering the joy of self-publishing, either by doing it themselves or by going through a vanity or subsidy press. POD has been available for a while, but it's only been in the past few years that it has really taken off.

This figure probably also covers books printed POD by small presses, even though those books are not "self-published" or vanity or subsidy published.

That's a lot of books. Whether this total includes ebooks is not clear.

So, having trouble selling your book? This could be why.


Moonlight Mesa publisher Becky Coffield has added a fourth event to this fall's calendar, and that is the Arizona National Livestock Show in Phoenix between December 28 and January 1. This is a new event for Moonlight Mesa. It's five days. "I hope I can be nice to people for five days in a row," Coffield said.


The possibility is there that Moonlight Mesa's second young reader book (ages 7 - 12) may make an appearance in late, late 2011 instead of early 2012. Sam's Desert Adventure is now going out for review. The cover is finished. Illustrations are still pending on the title, however.

"I hope we can get the book out by Christmas, but if not, so be it. I know from painful past experiences that you can't rush a book!" publisher Becky Coffield said. "There will be a Christmas next year, too. I also wanted the book to have a 2012 copyright and LCCN number, so those are two good reasons to wait. Still, it's always fun having a new book to sell, and we have two good events coming in December!!"

"For certain we'll have the book by Gold Rush Days, and I can't wait to take it to Mule Days in Bishop," Coffield said. (The book features a mule.)


Publisher Becky Coffield is now requiring that every author have a website. "It's a proven fact that people are far more likely to visit an author's website than a publisher's website," Coffield said. "Only two of our authors don't have a website: Jere D. James and Stoney Bowers. Stoney told me two years ago when we took on his first book that he would have a website right away. Ooops. As for Jere James...he had one once, but is willing to start another. We'll help both writers however we can."

New also will be sample chapters from the authors' books posted on the sites. "People will be able to read two or three chapters and then have a better idea whether they want the book or not. In Stoney's case, he could post two or three poems. It's a great idea, and should increase sales dramatically," Coffield said. "It'll be interesting to watch the analytics on this."

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