The Statistics are Coming – BookStats Vol 3!

By Katherine

Bookstats Volume 3 report announced

If ever you doubted the depths of my nerdy little marketing heart, doubt no longer. Each year (roughly) around this time, since they began in 2008, the BookStats report is released. This report is a combined effort between The Book Industry Study Group (BISG)  and the Association of American Publishers (AAP). You may also know BISG as those people who keep the list of BISAC codes (a whole other blog post). Up until this report began a few years back, no one was tracking the publishing industry at a high level. In fact, the actual value of the publishing industry was quite a mystery, and that was how the big publishers wanted it. In the first couple of versions, the report was largely generated by the numbers of the “Big 6”, while today hundreds report in and participate in the data. Although I will say that it appears the self-published space is still quite poorly represented.

So what does this report tell us exactly? The report “captures net revenue and units for all key publishing categories, sectors, formats and main genres, providing a five-year historical track that encompasses the digital transition. It also examines trends in publishers’ sales channels including retail, institutional and other categories.” For those of us on the publishing side of things, it mostly confirms or denies the business directions we have been taking, and helps us plan for the coming year.

Some of the highlights from the BISG press release include:

“The consistent growth of e-books demonstrates that publishers have successfully evolved the technology environment for their content — more so than other historically print-based content industries. E-books grew 45% since 2011 and now constitute 20% of the Trade market, playing an integral role in 2012 Trade revenue. The most pivotal driver of e-books remains Adult Fiction, with Children’s/Young Adult also showing strong numbers.”

Translation – people are buying ebooks in huge numbers, in particularly in the “trade” sector (that means us ordinary consumer types) and the industry is growing more rapidly than they had ever predicted.

“Trade publishing experienced significant growth since 2011. The increases were fueled by a year of strong new releases, particularly in the romance genre, and even more widespread popularity of e-books than in past years. This growth occurred despite the loss of numerous brick-and-mortar stores in 2012 and a lower cost for e-books than print books, which translated to higher quantities of e-books sold.”

Translation – the romance genre is so hot; it contributed to an industry-wide growth trend. AND they were wrong that low priced ebooks would be the demise of books, however, it may have been the demise of some bookstores.

From my perspective, all good news, and I can’t wait to dive into more data! You can read the full press release here. 

You can purchase a summary report for a fairly reasonable price on the website – note that the report is only available for pre-order now, will actually be distributed in June. The full report, while tempting with its’ juicy data, is just a smidge above my pay grade at this point, but darn do I wish I could get a peek at it!



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About Katherine

Katherine is the Chief Marketing Officer and co-founder of Booktrope Publishing. Prior to Booktrope, her background was primarily in technology and online marketing in both Seattle and California, working at companies such as NetApp, ADIC and Siemens. Her life-long love of books, and a desire to bring a new type of focus to marketing them, had her join forces with some other bookish folks to create Booktrope. She is the co-author of How to Market a Book and has served on the University of Washington’s Digital Publishing Certificate Program advisory board. She has presented at many bookish events such as the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference and the Northwest Bookfest. She has also worked as an actress, and a corporate trainer. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater from the University of Southern California. Katherine currently lives in Fall City, WA with her canine and human family members.