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Death of digital overstated in recent report

The Publishers Association numbers show consumer ebook sales have collapsed by 17 per cent, but physical book sales are up by 8 per cent[1]. The media took delight in Amazon bashing – “[The Kindle] was new and exciting,” says Cathryn Summerhayes, of Curtis Brown in the Guardian, “ but now they look so clunky and unhip, don’t they?”. Is this the death of digital? Absolutely not.

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Self-employed in publishing

BookMachine April Wrap: Publishing stories from around the web

This month in publishing news, there has been an unusual obsession with the smell of books. Not only did scientists pin-point that distinctive smell of second-hand bookshops, but the Guardian discovered what you can tell about an individual book from its smell – and why the scent is so addictive. In the bookselling sphere, Amazon once again dominated the opinions columns, as their forays into bricks and mortar bookshops continue. Plans for a second New York City bookstore, and another in Massachusetts are underway, while Seattle has been tipped as the next Amazon experiment ground. These expansions go ahead despite the fact that bricks and mortar bookstore sales have dropped once again, and a drop in sales from some publishers, including Big 5 giant HarperCollins. The truth is, the BBC reports, that people don’t have enough time to read, though a rise in library usage by young people indicates this could be a temporary blip. Online, the Amazon’s expansion into Australia is proving to be larger than expected but, in terms of eBook sales at least, they may soon face competition as, though Google Books continues to circle in “low orbit”, Microsoft has launched its own digital bookstore. Even so, Microsoft have their work cut out for them, as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has just been named the second richest man in the world after a leap in shares that has kept investors keen, and revealed in his 2017 letter to shareholders that he has no plans for Amazon to go anywhere. What’s more, Amazon has just made it even easier for self-published authors to convert manuscripts for Kindle. Both tech giants had better watch out, though, as this experimental eBook could hail a new kind of publishing entirely! April has hailed its fair share of author drama too, not least of which with the release of letters from Sylvia Plath, claim her husband and fellow-author Ted Hughes was guilty of domestic abuse. While Hughes’ widow says these accusations are “absurd”, others have noted that whether or not the accusations are true, they are unlikely to affect Hughes’ literary standing.  Elsewhere, Alec Baldwin has trash-talked publisher of his memoir HarperCollins over “typos and errors” he was “surprised to see.” At the other end of the scale, Trapeze author David Barnett has accused writers with unpublished manuscripts of being “quitters, not failures.” It’s been a big month for prizes as well, with both Man Booker International and Hugo Awards shortlists being announced, amongst many others. Significantly, Colson Whitehead won the Pulitzer Prize for The Underground Railroad, and Bob Dylan finally accepted his Nobel Prize for literature, months after the original ceremony. In international news, Bologna confirmed an international rights show in New York for 2018; national financial woes hit the Nigerian book industry hard; CNN explored how book manuscripts are smuggled out of North Korea; the AAP honoured Hong Kong publisher and bookseller, Giu Minhai, who is currently imprisoned in China; and book piracy bites hard for Zimbabwean authors. Finally, this month, the press has asked whether publishing has become too liberal. With Naomi Klein planning to battle Trump, Communism for Kids sparking a backlash from the conservatives, and “pawternity” leave granted to HarperCollins India workers adopting pets, you can see where the sentiment might come from. But when YA rising star Angie Thomas claims publishers “made the assumption that black kids don’t read”, and highlights the issues of diversity in the industry, I wonder if the question should be whether we’re liberal enough where it counts.

Print’s not dead, so what’s next for it? [Winning blog idea March]

Each month BookMachine offers a community member, with great ideas, the chance to write on the site. March’s winner was Percie Edgeler who writes about the future of the print book.  For the past few years, there has been a rallying cry around the advent of the ebook: print is dead. Since 2015 however there has been a decline in ebook sales, and whilst some are predicting a return to steady growth, one has to question if this is possible whilst they continue to maintain the same format. Currently the big five are taking relatively few risks, and independent publishers have been spearheading a print revival which with the increase in print book sales has paid off. For consumers that are continually choosing both, the roles of the digital and the physical have changed. Whilst the book industry is focusing on the colouring in fad to boost their sales, the magazine industry is increasingly taking risks to innovate their approach to print. At the same time as The Bookseller showed a 3% decrease in e-book sales in 2016, the magazine industry saw a 12.5% digital drop, with well-known brands such as BBC Good Food, National Geographic and Cosmo taking the biggest hit. In comparison, independent print magazines are growing. At QVED 2014, Jeremy Leslie of MagCulture addressed the issue directly when being asked about the death of print, retorting to a questioner “How can print be dead with such an abundance of independent titles flourishing day to day?” The industry does indeed seem to be flourishing: the founding of new titles such as the aptly named Print Isn’t Dead and growth of existing independents such as Little White Lies and Oh Comely all seem to be positive signs. But why are these independent magazines seeing a boom, and can the print book industry follow suit? Some publishers already are, with part of the attraction being premium content and production value. These two key components can be seen in the popular UK independent Nobrow Press, who expanded to open a New York office in 2013. Their highly illustrated books continue to gain popularity for having an emphasis on design and illustration whilst remaining affordable. These editions are a stand out in an age where the internet does throwaway information for free and at high speed. This in itself may kill some kinds of print. Ruth Jamieson, author of Print is Dead, Long Live Print, stipulated last year that digital media has cleared the way for a new, much more interesting, much more exciting print to spring up. In 2014, this decision to carefully curate high-quality content also paid off for independent New York magazine PAPER, who had to print an extra 35,000 copies of their September 2014 issue to keep up with the demand for the latest issue featuring Kim Kardashian. In the words of I-D editor Colin Crummy, “Kim Kardashian’s bum may have broken the internet in November 2014, but it was a magazine cover that helped her do it.” Despite this, some still seem to think that despite current high sales, print is simply enjoying a brief rebirth and as such the future for it is not so bright. Print hasn’t changed enough to compete with the behemoth of the e-book. Gail Rebuck, chair of Penguin Random House, stated the same year in the Creative UK report that our creative industries are at the centre of a digital transformation of our economy; predicting that ebooks would become a total of 35% of the market share in two years. Whilst this has not happened, some remain hopeful that they will return to growth, but this is not happening as quickly as expected. It may be that what becomes interesting is behaviour towards the print and digital changing so that the two are sitting together; and how as an industry, publishing continues to allow new innovation for both. It’s time to change the nature of the conversation around print. Ebooks are a new medium, not the death of the traditional. Instead of asking if print is dead, we should be questioning what we can do with it next. Percie Edgeler is a MA Publishing student at Kingston University, and a graduate of the BA Illustration course at Camberwell College of Arts where she gained first hand experience in producing different types of print. She is particularly interested in independent publishing, and how this sector will influence the future of print books.
Self-employed in publishing

BookMachine February Wrap: Publishing stories from around the web

This month in publishing, booksellers have taken the spotlight, with Waterstones announcing their first year of profit since the 2008 financial crash. In fact, Bookstore sales rose 2.5% in 2016 and Amazon is determined to get in on the action, with plans to open 10 books and mortar stores across the US by the end of 2017, in a move to “solve digital retail’s biggest design flaw.” They are also rumoured to be scouting for shops in London. However, the footing is not even: Amazon has been given tax cuts while high street stores suffer – though, as the FT points out, UK tax law isn’t actually Amazon’s fault. February has also marked the first full month of Trump’s presidency. Early February saw Trump pass an executive order banning entry to the US for citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations. Publishing professionals across the board have stood up against the ban, notably Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman. In response, Publishers’ Weekly followed the lead of Penguin Random House US and Hachette Book Group US by offering to pay half its employees’ membership fees to PEN America. Members of the reading public have also registered their unhappiness, voting with their reading habits by sending dystopian fiction to the top of the bestseller charts, as well as organizing to flood the White House with books for Valentine’s Day. On a lighter note, Trump’s actions have also kicked off a feud between Harry Potter author JK Rowling and television presenter Piers Morgan. Already having had to defend Harry Potter books against threats of burning this month, Rowling scored some biblical hits against Morgan before London-based Big Green Bookshop took up the gauntlet by deciding to live-Tweet the entire first Harry Potter novel at Morgan. The process would have taken 32,567 Tweets, however at the time of writing, Morgan has blocked the Big Green Bookshop and thwarted their efforts. This has been a month in which defense of free-speech and liberal values have been at the fore: “sensitivity readers” have been highlighted; anger has bloomed in light of 2017’s all-white Carnegie and Kate Greenaway longlists; and the Authors Guild in America has called for vigilance in these “not normal” times. Meanwhile, more complex debates have erupted over the sale of a Juno Dawson book to a 12-year-old at school, and arguments continue to rage over Milo Yiannopoulos’s upcoming book, both for and against. “Publishing has a part to play in this fight,” said Chief Executive of Faber & Faber, Steven Page, accepting the Frankfurt book fair independent trade publisher of the year award. “We are about freedom of expression, making the public aware and [providing] education. These are things that matter very much now.”

It seems that there’s not a publishing skills shortage at all

Peter McKay is Chief Executive of the Publishing Training Centre. He joined the PTC in 2011 after 34 years in educational, scholarly and professional publishing. The PTC, an independent charitable foundation established 40 year ago, is a network of over 50 publishing and training professionals focused solely on delivering training courses for the publishing industry and developing publishing skills. In the 21st century, book publishing companies seem to be investing less in the skills training of their employees than they used to, can this be right?

How does the Publishing Training Centre see it?

Such a picture seems evident when viewed through the lens of the Publishing Training Centre (PTC). At the turn of the century the PTC offered 82 individual, Open (classroom) Courses; in 2017 we offer 22. In the year 2000 the PTC scheduled 381 days of training and trained 2,117 participants; in 2017 we have scheduled  74 days with a capacity of 714.

Why might this have happened?

Acquisition and consolidation of independent houses into imprints of bigger companies has certainly impacted the number of people employed by publishing companies.  (Not to mention one company shedding 500 UK employees is response to a weak global performance.)Fewer employees, less training needed. The larger companies have turned increasingly to In-Company (exclusive, in-house) training rather than sending employees to external courses. 2013 was a turning point for PTC when, for the first time, we trained more people In-Company than on the Open Courses. A recent survey of small to medium sized publishers reported that, whilst about half of them claimed to use external training courses, only one in seven admitted to having a specific training budget.  Four out of five companies use on-the-job training and one in two companies use coaching or mentoring.

What about freelancers?

There is a “skills counter-balance” and that is the long standing trend to outsource parts of the publishing process to freelancers and offshore companies. This trend accelerated after the 2009 economic downturn and is reflected through the PTC prism; we enrol an average of 70 people a month onto our editorial skills, self-study, courses. The vast majority of self-study students are either freelancers or working their way to being one. These are people who have decided to take responsibility for their own skills development and also taken control of their working lives.

Let’s not forget the universities

The earliest degree courses in Publishing certainly date back to the early 1980s but it is true to say that the 21st century has seen a major growth in post-graduate and undergraduates gaining degrees and joining the workforce. Graduates of all hues have always represented a significant percentage of new recruits to the industry. One estimate is that one in ten of new recruits in any one year are grads and post-grads of publishing courses. It will be believed that this cohort will require less “training input” from their new employer than the generalist of old.

Does any of this matter?

For anyone looking to start and then grow a career in publishing it matters a lot. Publishing is about people and talent. Talent needs fostering and appropriate training at the right time has a powerful effect – and you might just have to go find it for yourself.
2017 in review

A day in the life of a Publisher Account Manager at Nielsen Book Research

Nielsen Children's UK SummitJaclyn Swope is a Publisher Account Manager on the Book Research team at Nielsen BookScan, where she assists a variety of publishers with understanding and utilising both retail sales and consumer data, through training sessions, presentations and bespoke analysis of book industry trends. 8:41 (okay okay more often 9am): I get the train from Surbiton to Woking, appreciating that I’m going the opposite direction of most commuters as I easily find a seat. Occasionally I’ll be going the other direction into London, if I have a meeting or training session at any publishers’ offices – typically at least once a week I’ll be out of the office in some capacity. 9:30 Settle in, COFFEE, boot up my email, see what has come in since I left yesterday. Chances are there’s at least one password reset. I have around twenty publishers on my BookScan client list, and then three colleagues with similar lists, so with that many users, resets are needed often! And I choose to view this as a sign that lots and lots of people are using BookScan, which is always good news! 10:00 It’s Tuesday, which means charts day. BookScan will be loading the latest week’s sales this afternoon, so our Production team spends the morning making sure everything is on track and there are no anticipated problems. 10:15 Right now I’m finishing up our monthly newsletter that goes to clients, in which I sum up how book sales in the UK and Ireland are doing this year so far (good news, they’re up!). I usually try to pick an extra topic to write more in-depth about, and this month I’ve decided on Christmas books – specifically, books with ‘Christmas’ in the title, and how many of them are in the BookScan charts over the past month. (And then I remind myself it’s only mid-November and Christmas is still over a month away.) I’m also using our Books & Consumers data to look at books specifically bought as Christmas gifts, to see how buying behaviour differs. 11:30 Receive an email about a password reset. Done! 11:45 I look through some contract renewals that I have coming up in the next couple of months, and start to put together proposals to send to those clients that outline what’s covered in their subscriptions. 12:45ish Time for lunch – I usually just eat at my desk, or maybe pop into town if I need to pick anything up. More often than not I’m watching YouTube videos or reading Buzzfeed/other various articles… 2:00 BookScan goes offline to upload the latest data, and we’re warned not to log in lest we disrupt the process and ruin the afternoon for everyone. 2:30 We send out weekly UK and Irish charts, and some extra reports to various clients.  Inevitably we’ll discuss amongst ourselves what does or doesn’t surprise us about the week’s bestsellers (the new David Walliams sold HOW MANY COPIES this week?!). 3:00 BookScan comes back up – time for another password reset! Fixed with the click of a mouse. 3:15 A query comes through from a publisher on the best way to run a specific chart, as the results she got were different than expected. I walk her through running the chart and try to pinpoint what might have gone wrong. 3:45 I’m doing a webinar soon on how to access and use market share data in BookScan, so I take some time to run through what I’m going to cover, and come up with potential questions that attendees might ask. It’s a bit nerve-wracking – I’m used to training rooms of people but speaking into a computer and being recorded adds a different aspect! 4:30 A couple more emails have come in, one password reset and a query about running BookScan data. I answer those and go through and make sure I haven’t missed anything throughout the day. A lot of my day-to-day is very reactive to what my clients may need or ask for; I never really know what may come up, which keeps things interesting!

Diverge! How thinking differently could boost your career

In an industry that outsources most of its physical tasks and processes, what’s the one thing that can set you and your organisation apart from your competitors? The way you think… Anna Faherty, publishing professional with over 25 years’ experience, spoke at Tuesday’s The Galley Club event on divergent thinking in publishing. Anna’s provocative session encouraged us to employ new ways of thinking in order to embrace uncertainty, make sense of complex situations and – ultimately – innovate beyond the development of new products. Here are our seven takeaway points, and a list of Anna’s top tips.

1) Diversity

Referencing a recent US survey, which highlighted that the vast majority of publishing staff identify as white (79%), female (78%), straight (88%) and non-disabled (92%), Anna stated that publishers need to be more diverse in order to make products for a wide range of audiences.

2) Backgrounds

Publishers also need to come from more diverse backgrounds (not just English graduates who ‘love books’). The industry thinks too similarly, but we need to think differently in order to develop innovative ideas, products, platforms and business models.

3) What does the future look like?

Publishers (who are uncomfortable with uncertainty) ask closed questions about the future of publishing, but this doesn’t tackle the reality that there’s no answer to these questions. The future of the industry isn’t a puzzle with a solution, but a story with many possible versions of the future – one which we can influence.

4) Give yourself permission and time to think creatively

The first ideas you come up with probably won’t be all that original, but give yourself enough time and you’ll get past common thinking.

5) Use your environment

Look around and draw links between your surroundings and the problem.

6) Focus on the process, not the output

Lots can be learnt from the creative process, so don’t be too focused on the output and miss important opportunities to acquire knowledge along the way. Anna’s own research into book discovery is a good example of this. While she visualised a number of customer journey maps, the true value in this research is the insight gained about book discovery during that process, rather than the maps themselves.

7) Don’t let words limit you

Words are precise and convergent: the minute you name something, you close down what it means. Try drawing or using imagery to think divergently.

Top Tips

To round off the evening, Anna left us with her top tips:
  • Do thinks differently – Walk a different route, talk to different people, and watch TV or go to restaurants you wouldn’t usually
  • Give yourself the freedom to incubate ideas – Get plenty of sleep, go for walks, or play the piano (or a similar hobby)
  • Be prepared to write (or draw) it down – Keep a notepad or your phone with you at all times
  • Talk about your ideas – Sharing your thoughts (however stupid) will spark more ideas
  • Set aside time to be creative at work – Make time to think, come up with new ideas, and then test them out. Keep testing each idea – drop the ones that don’t work and pursue the ones that have potential until the seem worthy of investment.
anna fahertyAnna Faherty is an award-winning researcher, writer and teacher. Anna now collaborates with publishers and museums on a diverse range of print, exhibition and digital projects. She also holds academic posts at Kingston University, Oxford Brookes University and UCL.

Key trends in the global book market at Frankfurt Book Fair

Every year, the Frankfurt Book Fair is one of the largest gatherings for the international publishing world and for the second year in a row, Nielsen’s Book team is collaborating with the fair to present key trends in the global market. Nielsen BookScan operates in 10 territories around the world—U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Italy, Spain and Brazil—and that number will soon climb to 11 with Mexico launching later this year. Nielsen Book is therefore well positioned to provide rich market data and interpretation of global publishing trends that are invaluable to the global book business. “The Frankfurt Book Fair is proud to work with Nielsen and to provide a platform for the largest gathering of the international publishing community to access this kind of critical information,” said Thomas Minkus, the Frankfurt Book Fair’s vice president of Emerging Media & English Language Markets. We’ll be looking at the global picture of growth in key English-speaking territories both year-to-date and in the last 12 months. The main headline for these regions is the strength of the European territories. In particular, Ireland’s volume sales have grown 8.8% in the last 12 months, and all of the Top 10 publishers in Ireland are showing growth, year-on-year, 8 of those 10, showing double digit growth through Nielsen BookScan Irish Consumer Market. This year, Frankfurt is also hosting a pre-fair conference, The Markets: Global Publishing Summit. The conference will focus on 7 key territories*, 3 of which—the UK, Spain and Brazil—have a Nielsen BookScan print sales panel. So what are the trends in these markets? In Brazil, print book sales are down 3.5% for the last 12 months, with declines in the top 2 genres: Fiction and Adult Non-Fiction. However, sales of Children’s titles are up 3.9%, with large sales of the translated Little Prince pushing the title to the top the genre’s chart. The U.K. and Spain print sales are up 6.2% and 0.9%, respectively. Spain’s largest category, Children’s, is up by 0.7% thanks to international bestselling author Jeff Kinney and the perennial favourite Asterix. The U.K. growth has been focused in the country’s two biggest genres, Children’s and Non-Fiction. The Non-Fiction category, in particular, has been reinvigorated recently thanks to some trends that have had a global reach. In 2015, colouring books for adults reached phenomenal success in most territories, with some titles placing at or near the top of the charts for the year. In 2015 and 2016, the U.K. has seen a new take on cookery books with a strong drive for healthy cooking, at times combined with exercise. In fact, if it were not for the reappearance of a certain wizard in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the U.K.’s top-selling book of the year so far would be Lean in 15: 15 Minute Meals and Workouts to Keep You Lean and Healthy, selling 850,000 copies in nine months. Looking to other territories, only Ireland and Australia have also had a top 10 ‘healthy’ cookbook. New Zealand’s top-selling cookery title was all about homemade food, while in Brazil, the top book of the year is a guide to a healthy and balanced diet inspired by God. You can hear Andre Breedt, Director of Nielsen Book Research, discussing the key trends in the global market place at 2pm on October 18th on the Analysis Stage in Hall 4.0. Click here for details.

Irish book sales up by 20% as feel-good factor returns to publishing

The book trade in Ireland is booming with sales up by more than 20 per cent to date this year. Here are some of the highlights from The Irish Times’ article.

The Stats

  • Sales up to September 10th were €76.4 million, up 20.3 per cent on 2015, according to Nielsen Bookscan
  • The largest growth has been recorded in non-fiction (up 24.5 per cent to €31.4 million) and in children’s (up 24.4 per cent to €26.7 million) book sales
  • Fiction is up 8.4 per cent with sales of €18.1 million
  • The bestseller of the year has been Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (selling 56,300 copies to date).

Attributing Factors

  • The improving economy meant more disposable income and discretionary spending
  • The decline in the value of sterling has meant books are also cheaper in Ireland
  • The publication of a number of big titles most notably the new Harry Potter book.

Publishers Association findings from post-Brexit survey

The Publishers Association have released findings of a post-Brexit survey used to identify the key priorities for the industry going forward. This included ensuring a strong government commitment to copyright and reducing VAT on epublications. Key findings of the survey include: · The majority (73%) of respondents will not change their business’s investment plans following the Brexit vote while 2% plan to increase investment · Over a third (38%) said they wanted a strong commitment to the existing copyright framework while another 33% said they would like to see VAT reduced on epublications · Over half (53%) of academic publishers surveyed said that reduced funding for academic research and Higher Education Institutes, was the main challenge they faced · Almost half (44%) of the respondents said that cheaper exports due to the weaker pound would be the biggest opportunity post-Brexit, although some said this would be cancelled out by higher printing costs. More than a third (35%) said that higher costs of doing business, such as higher import costs, was one of the biggest challenges created by the Brexit vote The survey also showed that many publishers are concerned by the uncertainty created by the Brexit vote. One respondent said: “As the timetable for Brexit is still not clear, the likely effect is still difficult to assess.” Another said the uncertainty “had already damaged UK sales and added costs to production”. But some highlighted the opportunities that Brexit presented. One respondent said: “Brexit is an opportunity for us to review what we are doing and to improve our planning operations”. Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, said: “Our survey shows that despite the economic uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote, the UK publishing industry remains resilient and will continue to play an important role in the creative sector and the UK economy as a whole. “However, it also highlights the challenges the industry faces, including higher business costs due to the weaker pound and the difficulty planning in an uncertain environment. We will make sure that these concerns are addressed by Government, as well as working to secure the industry’s key priorities moving forward.”
2017 in review

Where we read what: UK regions and their reading habits

While most popular books tend to have their sales spread throughout the country, I always find it interesting to look at how sales differ when moving from region to region in the UK – in BookScan we can separate sales into East of England, Lancashire, London, Midlands, Northern Ireland, Scotland, South West, Southern, Wales & the West and Yorkshire. This year, Joe Wicks’ Lean in 15 is comfortably sitting at number one in every region, followed by the paperback of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train everywhere but the South West – Eden Project: The Guide has managed to outsell the thriller in that pocket of the UK in 2016 so far. Looking at a selection of bestsellers for each region, only four titles appear in every top ten: Lean in 15, The Girl on the Train, The World’s Worst Children by David Walliams and Make Me by Lee Child. Here’s some more regional differences that stand out:
  • Three titles make it into the top ten for Northern Ireland but no other region: the film tie-in version of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, Awful Auntie by David Walliams and Old School by Jeff Kinney. From another angle, The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet ranks in the top ten books everywhere BUT Northern Ireland.
  • Ella Woodward’s second book Deliciously Ella Every Day is number six in London but beyond position ten everywhere else. On the other hand, London is the only region where Mary Berry: Foolproof Cooking does not appear in the top ten.
  • Scotland has shown more of a liking for John Grisham than other bestsellers this year – Rogue Lawyer is number ten when combining sales from Central Scotland, Northern Scotland and Border but further down in all other regions.
  • Colouring book sales have continued into 2016, even if they are a bit more subdued than last year’s phenomenon – but that hasn’t kept the Harry Potter Colouring Book from grabbing a place in Lancashire’s top ten chart.
  • As the year progresses, World Book Day titles usually relinquish their bestseller positions, but Roald Dahl’s The Great Mouse Plot still takes a spot in the North East’s top ten, and Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space: The Escape by Cavan Scott appears in both the North East and Yorkshire.
  • Another Yorkshire variance is the presence of Sylvia Day – One with You is number nine there but not within the top ten anywhere else.
  • East of England, Wales & the West and the Midlands all have the same titles in their top ten lists, corresponding to the top titles in the overall UK, but no region has those titles in the same order.
And that’s just for the first half of 2016 – I had a brief look at all-time bestsellers, and while Fifty Shades of Grey is the best-selling book in the overall UK and most individual regions since BookScan began, The Da Vinci Code takes the crown in London, Scotland and Southern. So where should you live based on your bookshelves? Jaclyn Swope is a Publisher Account Manager on the Book Research team at Nielsen BookScan, where she assists a variety of publishers with understanding and utilising both retail sales and consumer data, through training sessions, presentations and bespoke analysis of book industry trends.

Free Nielsen key findings report: The UK Children’s & YA Book Consumer

Since 2012, Nielsen Book UK has undertaken a Children’s Deep-Dive Study each summer to investigate children’s book reading and buying habits in the context of other leisure and entertainment pursuits. For the first time in 2015, in addition to the nationally representative sample of 1,500 parents of 0-13 year olds and 500 young adults aged 14-17, the survey included 1,000 book buyers aged 18-25 to help investigate the phenomenon of adults buying ‘YA’ books for themselves. The research was undertaken in July 2015. The 2015 research measured a drop in book reading on a weekly basis both among those aged 3-7 and 14-17 – though since 2012, the biggest decrease overall has been among 3-10 year olds. Books, however, still rank as the most popular activity for 0-10 year olds – but are in fifth position for 11-13s and drop out of the top 8 activities for those aged 14+. For the first time Nielsen segmented the 0-25 book market into groups. ‘Superfans’ – the very heaviest readers – tend to be female, with an average age of 12. ‘Distractable’ and the ‘Anti’ groups are more likely to be males, with the ‘Anti’ group being older (14 on average) and the ‘Distractables’ younger (11 on average), whilst the ‘Potential’ group is as likely to be boys as girls. This latter group are the ones reading e-books and magazines, and they too like adaptations; with the right content, format and messaging, this is a market that publishers can grow. Download a free extract of the report here. Or you can purchase the full report via Nielsen here.
Business Club at Frankfurt

Book fair survey results are in

This month BookMachine and Frankfurt Book Fair ran a survey to find out more about your behaviour and opinions about book fairs. The winner received a week’s pass to the Business Club at the Book Fair. The results have been fascinating; here we show you a selection of the data.

1. Which Book Fairs (or related events) have you attended before?


2. How often do you attend Book Fairs?


3. When visiting a Book Fair, do you attend as:


4. What are you interested in when visiting a Book Fair?


5. How do you get your industry news?

q6 66 % of respondents were female, 54% were employed and 46% were self-employed. The below graphs also show the age ranges, sectors and expertise of those who completed the questionnaire. q8 q9 q10 Thanks to everyone who took part and congratulations to our winner, Carolina Connor.

Bloomsbury sales up 11%

Bloomsbury today announces unaudited results for the year ended 29 February 2016.

Financial highlights

  • Revenue grew by 11% to £123.7 million (2015: £111.1 million)
  • Profit before taxation and highlighted items increased by 8% to £13.0 million (2015: £12.1 million)
  • Both revenue and profit benefited from the successful integration of Osprey Publishing acquired in December 2014
  • Final dividend per share of 5.34 pence (2015: 5.08 pence) making a total dividend of 6.4 pence for the year (2015: 6.1 pence)
  • Diluted earnings per share, excluding highlighted items, were 15.24 pence (2015: 14.73 pence)

Strategic developments

Bloomsbury 2020 launched today, moving Bloomsbury further in to the area of B2B digital publishing; a significant growth plan for Bloomsbury Digital Resources Publishing, a new range of scholarly digital resources aimed at academic libraries worldwide whose collective budgets are approximately $5 billion Announcement today of reorganisation of Bloomsbury from four to two divisions: Consumer and Non-Consumer, to reflect the increasing emphasis on our Non-Consumer businesses.

Operating Highlights

Children’s & Educational
  • Revenue for the year increased by 57% to £41.8m (2015: £26.6m)
  • Sales of Harry Potter in the year grew by 133%, including Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Illustrated Edition by J. K. Rowling and Jim Kay being published to great acclaim
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas has just hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Sales of Sarah J. Maas titles, which included A Court of Thorns and Roses, grew by 184%.
Adult division
  • Revenue increased by 3% year on year to £46.0 million (2015: £44.7 million)
  • Osprey Publishing, which was acquired in December 2014, generated revenue of £7.2 million (2015: £1.5 million)
  • Focus on special interest niches paying off, representing 14% of total Bloomsbury sales (2015: 10%)
Academic & Professional
  • Revenue for the year was £32.7 million (2015: £36.0 million), slightly lower as expected due to a strong rights and services comparator last year
  • Digital revenues grew by 24% year on year to £5.3 million, more than treble the industry growth rate (Source: Publishing Association: Digital Sales Monitor)
  • Digital now represents 16% of total revenues in the division (2015: 12%)
  • Acquisition of the definitive family law list for net consideration of £0.5m

Bloomsbury Information

  • Revenue for the year was £3.2 million (2015: £3.9 million)
  • Operating profit before highlighted items was up 9% to £1.2 million (2015: £1.1 million)
  • From 2016, Bloomsbury is providing publishing services to the Arcadian Library, one of the finest collections of books about relations between the West and the Arab and Islamic worlds

Strong list for the year ahead

  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition by J. K. Rowling and Jim Kay
  • Two front list Sarah J. Maas titles
  • New cookery titles from Tom Kerridge and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
  • New content from J. K. Rowling for the new edition of Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
Commenting on the results, Nigel Newton, Chief Executive, said: “Bloomsbury has had a very good year with strong revenue and book sales growth, including a significant increase in digital sales. In particular, our Children’s & Educational division delivered an exceptional performance, with its third year of double digit revenue growth. Bloomsbury continues its strategy of growing academic, professional, special interest and educational revenues. There are significant market opportunities to accelerate the growth of our digital revenues and today we have set out the Bloomsbury 2020 strategy. This focuses on growing revenues from academic and professional digital resources for academic libraries worldwide, whose budget is estimated to be $5 billion. This will lead our repositioning in the market from a primarily consumer publisher to a digital B2B publisher, whilst continuing our long track record of huge bestsellers in the adult and children’s markets which remain a very important part of Bloomsbury’s mission. We have started the year in line with our expectations and look forward to publishing our strong list in the year ahead.”

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