Jane Friedman.com recently Posted on her blog about how many of the ‘industry health’ articles are mistakenly optimistic in a way….stating that hard cover book sales are ‘up’ and ebooks ‘down’ etc etc….. Her opinion is that it’s different from projected due to a few things ‘they’ often don’t take into consideration. Do check out her site and articles…always very interesting.
I have been often tempted to write a post about the ‘industry weather’ these days using my own experience and that of the articles I read as well from various sources. For some reason I’ve been hesitant, and now see that it was a ‘gut response’ that I did need to heed. Jane uses several grafts from Nielsen’s Book Sales Reports for the overall US market that are very visually helpful in understanding what has been happening since 2010 and what segments are doing what. Now, we know numbers can be manipulated in politics and book sales to read how one wants them to….but this is a great source. Check them out…. Basically they do show that ebooks are slightly less a share % of the whole book market since 2014 (20% 2015 – 23% 2014) but that difference isn’t that much a difference with general sales up a bit anyway. And the higher prices of ebooks since 2013 might be one reason fewer are sold. As well as perhaps an ebook saturation point might have been reached and it’ll hold flat now. Something to watch. Print IS up but the sales are heavily effected by the 12 million coloring books that sold in 2015 as compared to the 1 million the year before. When that cools off…what then? Big 5 publishers share is declining as small and self publishers are gaining share. (and this is only including books with ISBN…traditionally published!)
Children’s book reports in PW seem to be so fast with their ups and downs for the kids print (board, Pic Bk, middle and YA) that I don’t have a chance to celebrate the good news in a post before it changes and reverses! LOL! Over all, in my day-to-day experience and article over views, I’d say it looks like we nicely hold our own over the long-range and keep on keeping on! That IS healthy. One foot in front of the other! The quality of books is amazing! If it’s harder to get published by the big 5 these days, so be it….maybe it leads to better books more often?! And the existence of vital smaller presses is a very healthy thing for the industry always.
I love to read! – adult books of all kinds as well as the kids books that grace my life. (do read the Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George …trade paperback…talk about books healing!) I read some on my Nook (yup!) because it’s easier for my poor hands to grasp. I read some in hardcover, like the HUGE City On Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg, which I liked (though my book club did not generally thank me for oops), but my hands did not . Kids books I always read in hard cover…. nicer when one or more of my 8 grandkids is snuggling and ‘helping’ me turn the pages. Point being, my gut thinks the overview of all of this that, for the LOVE OF BOOKS already!….the book market is keeping and adding new active participants all the time. We are lucky and blessed to be a part of this industry in whatever way we can make that happen….as writers, readers, illustrators, editors, AD’s, agents, sellers, buyers… lets just keep doing our best and sharing it with the book world…hard, soft, ebooks, audio, online…it’s all about stories, information, and pleasure.