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Old 01-05-2008, 10:26 PM   #1
triceretops
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Help from Jim, Nomad or Victoria? Line by line?

Can one of our top guns do a line by line on this survey? There needs to be some definite clarification here.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



The average traditional large scale publisher have a 60 day shelf life for titles—if less than 10 books per store, per location do not sell they either place them in the clearance bins—or return them to the publisher

Each day, corporations such as Barnes and Noble- Chapters (Indigo) return 95% of the original purchase order

Out of 1.2 million titles submitted to distributors only 15% are accepted to major bookstores- out of those 15%--13% are repeated high profile (Celebrities, business gurus, sports leaders)- or a niche market-

Acquisition budgets for major libraries, retail outlets and schools have been cut 47% in the past five years

Most media have reduced book reviews to either once a month- or they have cut it out altogether-

Marketing materials supplied to authors by the publisher who sell less than 5,000 books ( This means paid for not ordered for they may be returned)- zero

Book signings/ tours and readings for authors who sell less than 5,000 books arranged by the publisher-zero

Media appearances arranged from the publisher for an author- zero- authors are expected to hire their own publicist.

Each year over 1.2 million books are published world wide? And over 300,000 in the English language alone? Fewer than 20,000 will make it into the average book superstore. Most on the shelf of that superstore will not sell. Less than 2% of all books published pass the retail bar.

In 2004, 950,000 books out of 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan sold fewer than ninety-nine copies. Only 25,000 sold more than 5,000 copies. The average book in North America sells about 500 copies.

According to the Book Industry Study Group 2004 Books Sales for NA were 1.2 million. This means that your book is I out of 1.2 million titles for a buyer to choose from. Below is a chart of Sales Range and the amount of titles that sold in that range.
Sales Range
Titles
1,000,000 or more
10
500,000 to 999,999
22
250,000 to 499,999
64
100,000 to 249,999
324
50,000 to 99,999
767
5,000 to 49,999
23,047
1,000 to 4,999
67,008
100 to 999
202,938
Sold 99 or less
948,005
Total
1.2 Million

Last edited by triceretops; 01-05-2008 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:59 PM   #2
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Oh, and please, I do not mean to exclude the comments of our AW group members.

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Old 01-05-2008, 11:12 PM   #3
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This sounds about right, in my experience, although I never before considered myself in the top 2% of all writers. I've never gotten big advances, but I've done bookstore signings and a ton of radio interviews, set up by the publisher. In my wanderings, during the first few weeks a book is out, I often find at least one copy in various stores.
On the other hand, once the early reviews are in, if they're not absolutely glowing, I find the publisher--and often your agent-- quickly loses interest.
The window is definitely tiny for a book to prove itself, so I wonder how all those "word of mouth" success stories happen. I mean, by the time enough mouths have passed the word, the average book has long since gone to the shredder.
"Word of Mouth" people, by all means please clock in.
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Old 01-05-2008, 11:29 PM   #4
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I believe 1.2 million books accounts for all types of books--vanity, subsidy, pamplets, and all other manner of publications. What is the number per year in the context of fiction titles that are put out by the commercial trades?

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Old 01-06-2008, 12:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by triceretops View Post
In 2004, 950,000 books out of 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan sold fewer than ninety-nine copies. Only 25,000 sold more than 5,000 copies. The average book in North America sells about 500 copies.


Very important to note that in addition to the info that these figures include all kinds of books, Bookscan does not track every market and, in fact, misses some pretty large ones such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and some of the big box stores.

Plus:

250,000 to 499,999
64




In 2004, I had at least one title that fell within that range, and I do not believe there were only 63 other titles in there with mine.

When all sales can be and are tracked, these numbers might be worth something, but until then they -- like the bestseller lists -- represent only a fraction of what's actually going on in the market.

At least in my experience, and in my opinion.

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Old 01-06-2008, 01:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by triceretops View Post
Each day, corporations such as Barnes and Noble- Chapters (Indigo) return 95% of the original purchase order
This sounds completely wrong to me. Maybe someone who works in a book store can clarify?
Quote:
Originally Posted by triceretops View Post


Acquisition budgets for major libraries, retail outlets and schools have been cut 47% in the past five years
This is certainly possible. However, if my memory serves me right, in articles I've read about my college's library getting budget cuts they mainly cut back on periodicals, not on actual books.
Quote:
Originally Posted by triceretops View Post


Media appearances arranged from the publisher for an author- zero- authors are expected to hire their own publicist.
This is just complete hogwash. Of course publishers arrange media appearances for some of their authors.
Quote:
Originally Posted by triceretops View Post

In 2004, 950,000 books out of 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan sold fewer than ninety-nine copies. Only 25,000 sold more than 5,000 copies. The average book in North America sells about 500 copies.
Since the above numbers include an incredible amount of vanity-published books, government reports of interest to only a handful of specialists, lots of booklets, etc. etc. it is impossible to get an accurate view of the book industry from them. Also, many bestsellers (and some ordinary books) are represented by three or four or sometimes more ISBNs (hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, library binding, perhaps some reprints) which disguises the true sales by making it seem like perhaps only 25% of the sales happened per title since most people instinctively think these numbers are per title instead of per ISBN (and this 25% isn't yet including any of the library market and big box stores).
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Old 01-06-2008, 01:19 AM   #7
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The average traditional large scale publisher chain bookseller have has (singular noun) a 60 day shelf life for titles—if less than 10 books per store, per location, do not sell they either place them in the clearance bins—or return them to the publisher.

Each day, corporations such as Barnes and Noble- Chapters (Indigo) return 95% of the original purchase order. (Note: I'd add "up to" before 95%, since it's not a fact, but an average.)


Out of 1.2 million titles submitted to distributors, only 15% are accepted to by major bookstores. oOut of those 15%--13% are repeated high profile (Celebrities, business gurus, sports leaders)- or a niche market- (Note: a percent of a percent is a non-existent number for the purpose of a statement of fact, because it winds up a fraction. If 15% of 100 is 15, then 13% of 15 is 1.95. You might try to re-word this to an actual percentage of the original number, or leave out the percentage.)

Acquisition budgets for major libraries, retail outlets and schools have been cut 47% in the past five years. (Note: Is this a nationwide average and from what source? Because it's the other way around down where I live.)

Most media have reduced book reviews to either once a month- or they have cut it out altogether- (Note: There's a REALLY good article about this in the LA Times from last fall. It would be worth reading through it to include fair use quotes which will give more oomph to the statement.)

Marketing materials supplied to authors by the publisher who sell less than 5,000 books ( This means paid for not ordered for they may be returned)- zero (Note: I don't understand this statement. What are you including in the term "marketing materials?" Do you mean book specific marketing materials? Most publishers are happy to offer authors materials that are for the publisher itself or the line because that's not attributed to an individual book's overall cost.)

Book signings/ tours and readings for authors who sell less than 5,000 books arranged by the publisher-zero (Note: If this is geared toward readers who are authors with less than 5,000 sales, then this is fine. But it's actually a much higher number of sales required for publicity to take the time/money to arrange any of these.)

Media appearances arranged from the publisher for an author- zero- authors are expected to hire their own publicist. (Note: What is a "media appearance" that's not a signing, tour or reading? Do you mean like television, radio or newspaper interviews or articles? If so, then this section should probably be moved up to the part about the decline in reviews, because when the reviews declined, so did the OFFERS to interview authors.)

Each year over 1.2 million books are published world wide? And over 300,000 in the English language alone? Fewer than 20,000 will make it into the average book superstore. Most on the shelf of that superstore will not sell. Less than 2% of all books published pass the retail bar. (Note: The last statement doesn't fit with the previous two since the quality doesn't have anything to do with the shelving. Move it up to be the second or third statement.)

In 2004, 950,000 books out of 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan sold fewer than ninety-nine copies. Only 25,000 sold more than 5,000 copies. The average book in North America sells about 500 copies. (Note: Why is this separated from the previous statements. I'd resplit these paragraphs---one about lack of sales in stores, and one about the difficulty in getting published in the first place.)

According to the Book Industry Study Group 2004 Books Sales for NA were 1.2 million. (Note: I think it's important here to mention whether this is ALL books published (including small press, self-pubbed and ebooks) or just the large commercial publishers. It will make a difference in the reader's mind.) This means that your book is I out of 1.2 million titles for a buyer to choose from. Below is a chart of Sales Range and the amount of titles that sold in that range.

Sales Range
Titles
1,000,000 or more
10
500,000 to 999,999
22
250,000 to 499,999
64
100,000 to 249,999
324
50,000 to 99,999
767
5,000 to 49,999
23,047
1,000 to 4,999
67,008
100 to 999
202,938
Sold 99 or less
948,005
Total
1.2 Million
Hope that helps. Good luck with the article!
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Old 01-06-2008, 02:32 AM   #8
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Thanks, Cathy. I'm not the author of this article. I was interested in how factually accurate it was. But, you made some vital points, nevertheless!

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Old 01-06-2008, 02:50 AM   #9
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looks like something PublishAmerica would put out - full of dis/misinformation...

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Old 01-06-2008, 03:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
In 2004, 950,000 books out of 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan sold fewer than ninety-nine copies. Only 25,000 sold more than 5,000 copies. The average book in North America sells about 500 copies
.


Miss Snark discussed these numbers on her blog. The short version is that the numbers are misleading because Bookscan tallies ISBN numbers, and a book may have many ISBN numbers. Bookscan also doesn't take into account library purchases or Wal-Mart purchases. Nor do the stats cover paperbacks, which is a pretty big chunk of the market. I would have been interested to know if it included Book Club sales or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't.
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