As announced today on Publisher’s Lunch, a new industry-wide set of statistics are now out by BookStats. It’s a study that is going to be done jointly by the AAP and BISG who had been releasing their own flawed statistics over the last few years. This new study, as Publisher’s Lunch says, is modeled better and seems to be much cleaner and closer to the truth.
And I agree with it. Nothing strikes me as off. That said, this modeling is still flawed from the perspective of a perfect world, but it is better than we have had. If you want the full study and clear breakdowns, go to http://publishers.org/bookstats/highlights/ It is very clear with nifty bar graphs and everything.
So let me dig through some of the data to just give a few highlights. Remember, folks, I’ve been saying how really huge this business is and how minor indie publishers are in the big flow of things. And remember I have been saying that traditional publishing is not going away. It’s just in for a rough patch where certain companies will make it and others will not.
Well, if you didn’t believe me before, wrap your mind around a few of these numbers.
The data came from Trade Publishers of a certain size and up (meaning about 2,000 publishers…yeah, I know most of you have bought into the myth of the “big six” but alas, this data came from the major top 2,000 publishers. Fiction, nonfiction, everything. But no indie publishers at all.)
Total Net Sales for 2010 was 12.59 Billion. (That’s Billion with a B.)
Number Net books sold were 2.57 Billion. (That’s Billion with a B.)
As far as e-books, here is how Publisher’s Lunch read the data: “The ebook data only covers product from traditional publishers, of course, so it does not reflect much of the explosion of self-published ebooks. BookStats estimates a total of $838 million in trade ebook sales for 2010, which comprises 6.7 percent of all trade sales for the year. (By including religion, the press release will tell you ebooks are 6.4 percent, and comprise $878 million.)
And speaking of pricing (Arghhh)…here is what Publisher’s Lunch says about the data: “The new report–which offers average unit price data as well–claims that the average trade ebook was sold by publishers for $6.50 in 2008, $8.09 in 2009, and $7.72 in 2010.”
And a total number of the 2,000 publishers reporting e-book sales…they said: “Across all segments of book publishing, ebooks and apps comprised an estimated market of $1.667 billion…”
(That Billion with a B.)
Again, as Publisher’s Lunch stressed, this is modeled data from around 2,000 publishers and does not take into account the indie publishers yet. Just major trade publishers.
But it is better data than we have seen and is taken and modeled from a very large swath of publishers. (Better than trying to get some idea from 12 publishers reporting as has been for the last two years.)
Exactly as I figured things were at after 2010. Sort of flat, with electronic books booming and paper books struggling.
2011 will be another matter, with the huge returns going on at B&N, the discounting of almost 300 Borders store’s inventory, the push of more devices getting more and more readers online. Numbers will really be messed up this year. We shall see in next year’s study how it all levels out for 2011.
At 6.4% in 2010, we are a distance from that nasty tipping point of 25% of all books being electronic. But we are gaining on it. Many trade publishers are moving quickly to adjust and move warehousing, trucking contracts, and printing contracts, others not so fast.
Only time will tell what will happen for each traditional publisher. My suggestion a number of weeks back was: Hold on going after traditional publishing and learn indie publishing for the moment.
I stand by that suggestion. Then in a year or two we’ll have better answers. And we will know which publishing companies are going to follow Borders into history and which will have made the transition. And you will have options and data of your own at that point.
Just my suggestion again.
Read the study yourself and come to your own conclusions.http://publishers.org/bookstats/highlights/