After a couple years of no industry-wide statistics and many years before that of poor, illusory numbers, the publishing industry is back on the road to measuring itself with the new BookStats, prepared jointly by the AAP and BISG, released in highlight form to trade media .
All of the new numbers as you will read about them are modeled
estimates rather than actual data--but they draw on data supplied by
just under 2,000 publishers, and the methodology for extrapolating the
estimates was far more careful and rational than the process used by the
BISG alone for its annual Book Trends numbers, and has introduced fewer
errors of gross exaggeration-by-multiplication. (More on this
later....) Book Trends was abandoned after publishing data for 2008, and
the BISG did not compile any statistics for 2009. The AAP has published
annual estimates though they were considered less complete. So the new
data effort covers 2010 but also compiles industry numbers for 2009 and
2008 using the same new method.
In the headline numbers, BookStats estimates trade publishers' 2010
sales at $12.59 billion. That's a slight decline from $12.71 billion in
2009, when sales were 7.4 percent higher than the year before, which
registered $11.83 billion in 2008.
(Here's our first point of divergence with some other accounts: we
calculate trade sales as adult fiction, adult nonfiction and juvenile
sales. BookStats has put the "religion" breakout inside trade in their
general press release. There is some overlap, but with $1.35 billion in
wholesale sales, we're more comfortable leaving "religion" outside of
the trade basket.
(Here's our second point of divergence: the official BookStats press
release celebrates all of the increases in publishing, some of which can
only be derived by looking at changes over a two-year period, instead
of the traditional year-over-year view. And 2008 was when the economy
plunged in the final quarter, so it may make for a skewed baseline,
particularly on a two-year comparison. We are breaking out percentage
changes on year-by-year comps, and our focus is on changes in the past
*From Publisher's Lunch