Tag: statistics

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.

Translated literature: Is the buzz to be believed?

Jonathan Ruppin is Literary Director at digital start-up Orson & Co and the founder of the English PEN Translated Literature Book Club. He was a bookseller for 18 years, including 13 at Foyles’ flagship branch on Charing Cross Road. Translated literature is having a moment, the press has being claiming of late. It’s being said by the sort of journalists who have previously claimed that short stories or novellas or enormous doorstop novels are having a moment. The press, of course, is always keen to portray itself as a keen trendspotter and constantly makes assertions based on having received three vaguely similar books in the post lately or perhaps just one particularly cut-n’-pastable press release.

The facts are these

According to Literature Across Frontiers, translated fiction currently makes up 4.5% of UK sales, up from 3% at the turn of the century. This compares with almost a third in Germany and around half in Italy. Discount unrepeatable phenomena such as Elena Ferrante and Stieg Larsson and the increase is negligible. If translated literature was really what everyone is buying, it would be reflected in what chain bookshops were putting in front and centre, in bestseller lists, in the pages of magazines as well as literary journals. And it’s not.

Translated literature, as the Twitterati smugly proclaim, is not a genre

To yoke books together on the grounds of their not being originally written in English is arbitrary and senseless. Except… consider, for example, a novel set in ancient Rome and another in revolutionary France sitting side-by-side on a table of historical fiction: many readers adore exploring the past by reading fiction and plenty of them are interested in more than one era. Similarly, readers travel the world vicariously through novels. An interest in Italy is unlikely to correlate with a passion for China but, in both cases, the reader is exhibiting curiosity about other cultures. A table of translated literature, therefore, makes perfect sense. Mostly importantly, it works: when I was at Foyles, we had one almost permanently, with an ever-changing selection, and it consistently outsold almost every other themed display. It’s all very well dreaming of a world where readers are language-blind, but hoping that we’ll get there by leaving translated books to fend for themselves in the run from A to Z is wishful thinking. Positive discrimination is needed, just as we need to highlight female, working class and BAME writers, to avoid the cultural default of just waiting for the new one from Ian McEwan.

There are some major issues with exactly what does get translated into English

Safer choices by publishers lead to a preponderance of male writers. The lack of languages among British publishers means that Western Europe dominates. A lack of familiar cultural references in commercial fiction or British perspectives in non-fiction apparently makes anything other than English-language titles in these areas too problematic to consider. Credit for the translator is often buried somewhere discreet, as well as remaining largely absent from reviews. Random House even removed the diacritic from the name of Jo Nesbø lest such exoticism startle fragile crime fans (although Simon & Schuster have more faith in the child readers of his Doctor Proctor books and kept it). We chose Senegal as the first destination in Africa for the English PEN Translated Literature Book Club, but were soon stymied: even names of global import such as Mariama Bâ, Ousmane Sembène and Fatou Diome are out of print in the UK. (Literature from any African nation can, incidentally, most often be identified by the hackneyed image of a sunset behind an acacia tree on the cover.)

The indies

We can only be grateful to the independent publishing sector, who have stepped in to cater for this vastly untapped market. Istros Books, for example, specialise in books from the Balkans. The main focus of Tilted Axis is books from Asia and Africa. And Other Stories and Peirene Press have achieved the sort of brand recognition that the big houses have long craved, signing up subscribers with a guarantee of literary intrepidity. This is being mirrored by independent bookshops, who have capitalised on the millions of readers in search of something other than the cosily familiar. Globalisation of every aspect of life on Earth is happening now, whatever the Brexiteers may think of that, and Anglophone literature can only be enriched by embracing the remarkable variety the rest of the world has to offer. Thanks to Norah Myers for sourcing this guest post. 
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.
nielsen

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.
grow

Strong year for UK publishing industry as it grows to £4.4bn

New figures released on Friday by the Publishers Association shows that the UK publishing industry is in good health with total sales of book and journal publishing up to £4.4bn in 2015. The figures also revealed that the UK’s love affair with the printed book is far from over as for the first time since the invention of the ebook, overall physical book sales increased while digital sales decreased.

Top stats from the research include:

  • Sales of physical books from publishers increased for the first time in four years while digital sales fell for the first time since The PA started collecting figures
  • Export revenues dropped slightly by 3% to £1.42bn with education, academic and ELT (English Language Teaching) accounting for two thirds of this
  • There was particularly strong growth in sales of physical non-fiction/reference books which saw sales increase by 9% to £759m
  • Academic journal publishing also continued strongly up by 5% to £1.1bn with digital revenues accounting for 95% of this
  • School books sales were up overall by 9% to £319m with growth in physical and digital both home and abroad.
  • Audiobook downloads had another good year with 29% growth in 2015.
Commenting, The Publishers Association Chief Executive, Stephen Lotinga, said: “These figures show that the UK publishing industry continues to go from strength to strength and the UK’s love for print is far from over. “Digital continues to be an incredibly important part of the industry, but it would appear there remains a special place in the consumer’s heart for the aesthetic pleasure that printed books can bring. “UK publishing leads the world in terms of exports, but the small drop last year is a reminder of the importance of having certainty in the relationships with our most important markets. “2015 was a great year for learned journals sales and demonstrates the strength of academic publishers in driving new innovative business models that contribute towards maintaining the UK’s position as a hub of global research excellence. “The performance of educational publishers, who saw increased sales across all formats, both at home and overseas, is testament to the outstanding learning resources the UK continues to create. “Whether it be the latest fiction bestseller, our world renowned scientific journals or textbooks for the classroom, the UK publishing industry continues to punch well above its weight. At a time when the Government is looking for world leading sectors to drive growth in the UK economy, they could do a lot worse than look to the success of our publishing industry.” Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, said: “The UK’s publishing industry is a huge success story, and I’m delighted the sector is continuing to flourish. The publishing industry contributes £10.2bn a year to the UK economy, and these latest figures are welcome news, particularly in a year when we’re celebrating one of the UK’s most famous literary exports, William Shakespeare.”

Publishing for kids: how to reach book buyers online [event round-up and photos]

Guest Speakers from different areas of the publishing industry came together to discuss how to make a success of publishing for kids in an online world. Here Abigail Hyland rounds up the key things we learned from the speakers. pub kids

Steve Bohme, Nielsen Book Research: recognising overlooked marketing strategies

Nielsen measure the engagement children and young adults have with social media, by way of consumer surveys, to find new ways of targeting a market that is increasingly online. Quick glance stats: Who’s online? 0-17yr olds    – 50% of this age group access YouTube – 26% of this age group access Facebook – 23% of this age group access Amazon Where are books being bought? -33% online -67% offline Where are books being discovered? -17% online – 83% offline steve From these statistics it’s obvious that publishers of children’s books are missing out on a potentially huge referral market. But instead of a missed opportunity, Nielsen are using this research as encouragement to tap into new ways of marketing children’s literature on online platforms.

Sven Huber, Boolino: using the internet as an instantly available meeting place of reader and text

If bookstores are the psychical bridge between authors and readers, how does the internet form a bridge between author and reader to the same effect? From this question, a business opportunity arose and there ‘Boolino’ was born; a site that aims to connect the reader to a text through online interactive material that’s supplementary to the book. This ‘added’ content, such as video book reviews, allow a parent to make an informed decision about which books they will buy their child. And, when that book has been bought, further material is available to aid the reading experience in the form of online tests and games. This caught the attention of the publishers of these texts, as they came to recognise the use of this added value. This then formed strong communications between the Boolino and publishers’ websites, leading to a healthy referral system between each site. Sven

Claire Morrison, DK Books: putting what parents want online

DK’s research into what parents want for their child suggests a wish list of age-appropriate content, educational value, engagement with the text, and an expert view on what kids should be reading. This is encapsulated by the advantageous branding DK have which attributes these traits to their publications purely through the trust in the brand. DK are “engaging but trustworthy”, Claire Morrison describes. Putting this into practice, DK have recently launched the online platform DKfindout!, ‘A safe place online to see, learn and explore almost everything’. This platform provides:
  • A secure site for a child to search and explore
  • Homework resources
  • Top tips to help parents support their child’s learning and education.
kids

Charlotte Hoare, Hachette Children’s Group: identifying problems one must consider when marketing to children online

Charlotte noted how the children’s books sector is the hardest to target, in terms of marketing, due to the dual approach you have to take when communicating to both the parent and child, buyer and user. But the biggest challenge comes in the form of ‘Verified Consent’: You can easily approach an adult via marketing, but to reach a child is a lot trickier. COPA, an American initiative, states you are not allowed to hold any identifiable data about anyone under the age of 11. So, if you want to sign a child up to a campaign/newsletter/competition, you can only do so with consent from the parent. Bringing together data (Nielsen) and business opportunity (Boolino & DK), whilst acknowledging the difficulties with children’s book marketing (Hachette), we are provided with a rounded view of how to market books to children and their parents in the current online publishing climate. For more photos of the event, visit our Facebook page.   Abigail HylandAbigail Hyland is an Editorial Assistant at SAGE Publications and music reviewer for the Brighton based magazine, ‘The Latest‘.  

ALCS report finds massive disparity in authors’ earnings

The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society has published the results of its report into the money made by professional authors, and none of it will likely come as a surprise to the vast majority of writers forced to subsidise their work through a variety of endurable-to-menial day jobs. Based on research carried out by Queen Mary University of London, The Business of Being an Author: A Survey of Authors’ Earnings and Contracts finds that 58% of all the money earned by professional authors is earned by the top 10% of those authors, resulting in a massive inequality of wealth between that 10% and the remaining 90%.

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