Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Finally...BookStat Data

For anyone who comes to this blog regularly, you know I'm a number cruncher. One of the most difficult things to get a handle on in the publishing industry is some reliable data on sales.

There are many reasons for this.
  • Books are sold in many different venues
  • AAP data is released monthly but reports data from a VERY small subset of publishers as a whole.
  • There are thousands (maybe even tens of thousands of small and micro presses whose data is not reported at all
  • Top selling self-publishers are not having their data reported at all (the New John Locke, rick Murcer has sold more than 130,000 books but they are not recorded anywhere.
  • When do you count a sale? When the bookstore orders the books? Or when the buyer purchases them? How do you account for returns?
Some organizations go at this from the other side of the equation...by surveying readers. But this data is problematic as well. Do they tend to shop online or in stores? Do they use the Internet? The buying patterns of the sample data can heavily weight the information.

One of the reasons I went to BookExpo is to get a better grip on the data of the book industry as a whole. I attended a number of presentations that did help, but the one I was looking forward to the most was BookStats.

This is a 2 year analysis of publishing from 2008 - 2010 performed by BISG (Book Industry Study Group) and AAP (American Association of Publishers). The data was not ready for BookExpo in May, and they expected it to be ready in July. Well July came and went but it looks like the report is finally out as I'm seeing articles written about it.

I plan on getting my hands on the complete report - will cost me nearly $600 to do so but I think it will be worth it. Once I have the report, I'll give some further analysis but here are some fact that have been put out by the New York Times based on their reading of the data.
  • 2008 seems to have been the bottom as there has been expansion in each of the three previous years
  • 2010 Net Revenue for publishers was $27.9 billion
  • 2010 Net Revenue increased 5.8% over 2008
  • Trade books grew 5.8% to 13.9 billion (fueled by eBooks)
  • Juvenile books grew 6.6% over three years
  • Adult fiction grew 8.8% over three years
  • eBooks were .6% in 2008 and 6.4% in 2010 (a number which I still think is grossly under reported)
  • 2010 eBook sales 114 million copies
  • Adult hardcover and paperback were essentially flat from 2008 - 2010
  • Mass market paperbacks declined 16%
  • Hardcover books as % of trade books held pretty stable (37.7% in 2010 39.6% in 2008)
  • Trade paperbacks saw similar trends (37.8% in 2010, 39.5% in 2008)


John Twipnook said...

Thanks for the data, I like hard numbers too.

wannabuy said...

I like the numbers too. But something is off on the ebook sales... While just a few percent low for overall market share in 2010, those numbers really add up. ;)

Such lagging data is interesting, but just think since that data:
1. Borders failed. Completely.
2. Ereaders have sold well.
3. How many authors have defected?

I'm glad to see the bottom is behind. But am I the only one to suspect these are massaged numbers? Sort of like the AAP monthly sales. Last month's sales were in the most obscure format to hide something... and that was ebook market share *well* past 20%.

Now if there were numbers on Indie author sales. Sigh... Only Amazon would really know that!


Robin Sullivan said...

@wannabuy - I agree that all ebook numbers are highly under reported especially because no indie data is in there. I would love to see Amazon and B&N ebook numbers for the following:

- Units verses Sales
- Self pub, indie press, big-six

Now THAT would be some data I would pay a TON for.

Andi Sporkin said...

As the person behind AAP's BookStats media rollout and AAP's monthly survey press releases, I wanted to correct three misunderstandings.

--While we hope you consider buying the report and dashboard, AAP has made available extensive BookStats highlights on our website for the media and general public. Early yesterday morning, this package was distributed to media and posted on our site (and promoted extensively on our homepage). The link to the landing page is in the URL below.

--BookStats numbers were not "massaged" or manipulated in any way. We had source data from 1963 publishers who opted in - the biggest such survey ever conducted - along with rich data provided by suppliers, wholesalers, booksellers and others. Additionally, we had access to well-respected databases. If you read through what's posted on our site, the only section where we believe our information is not thorough, due to limited access, is clearly identified as such.
--Finally, don't judge the substance of the extensive monthly sales reports based on the brief press releases I write for the media - what you see on our site. The releases are meant to identify 2-3 fresh angles monthly for those journalists covering our industry; they are the primary audience for the releases and that's what they've requested. These releases have never been written to cover all the stats included in the confidential full reports, which are provided to AAP members as part of their membership and to others who pay an annual subscription to receive them.
Andi Sporkin
Vice President, Communications AAP

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