BookStats Fills a Gap with New U.S. Publishing Data

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Aug 25, 2011

Ever since the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) stopped compiling market data in 2009, the publishing industry has experienced a dearth of sources for detailed, industry-specific statistics.  The BISG, in collaboration with the Association of American Publishers (AAP) is looking to rectify that with the recent publication of their new U.S. publishing industry statistical report entitled BookStats .

BookStats, released on August 9th, 2011 provides data estimates for the publishing industry from 2008 to 2010 and covers different industry sub segments including the K-12 school, higher education, trade, professional, and scholarly markets. BookStats was compiled from data supplied by 1,963 different publishers , which included companies of different sizes and market sectors.

According to BookStats, the publishing industry as a whole is growing relative to its 2008 levels. U.S. publishing revenue grew 5.6% to $27.94 billion from 2008 to 2010.  Likewise publishing unit sales are up 4.1% since 2008, for a total of 2.57 billion units.

In terms of the different segments in publishing, growth in higher education publishing (course learning materials for students and faculty) was highest with a 23.1% increase in net sales revenue from 2008 to 2010, with net revenue for 2010 reaching $4.55 billion.  Professional publishers (those working in medicine, law, business, science, and technology fields) also fared well with net sales revenue growth of 6.3% and 2010 revenues at $3.75 billion. Scholarly publishers (scholarly societies, university presses involved in primary research) saw net revenue grow 4.7% up to $191 million. Publishers for the K-12 school segment were the only ones who experienced negative sales revenue growth at -6.2% over the three-year period.

With the release of BookStats we now also have statistics on trade publishing (publishing for the general public including fiction, nonfiction, and religion). Overall net sales revenue for trade category publishers grew 5.8%, with $13.94 billion of revenue for 2010. The trade market is further separated into hardcover, softcover, trade paperback, and digital segments. Of the three physical book segments, softcover represents the highest market share at 37.8% for 2010 while hardcover is very close behind at 37.7%. Of these top two segments, softcover sales revenue increased 1.2% over the three-year period to $5.27 billion in 2010 while hardcover revenues increased 0.9% to $5.26 billion.  Even though revenues between hardcover and softcover publications are close, in terms of unit sales for 2010 softcover is on top at 1.1 billion units sold (2% increase) while hardcover had 603 million units sold (5.8% increase). The third type of trade, mass market paperback, saw a decrease in sales revenue of -13.8% from 2008 to 2010. It held a 9.2% share of the trade market in 2010, which amounts to a decline of 2.1%.

E-books in particular saw a large increase in its total share of the trade market, increasing from 0.6% in 2008 to 6.4% in 2010. In terms of net revenue, e-books saw the greatest increase, 1274.1% with revenue figures at $878 million. Unit sales growth is also very high with 114 million units sold in 2010, a 1039.6% increase. Certain categories such as adult fiction are especially popular in e-book format, with 13.6% of adult fiction sales revenue coming from e-book sales.

With the recent release of BookStats, publishing industry trackers now have a source of industry data in which they can utilize to execute strategic decisions. The data provided by BookStats allows the reader to view the U.S. publishing industry from 2008 to 2010, segmented by publishing format (hardcover, digital, etc.), publishing category (industry and trade segment), and publishing distribution channel.


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