View Full Version : 2009 book sales not so bad

01-04-2010, 12:00 AM
There was an article in Crain's New York last week that stated that, contrary to popular belief, 2009 book sales were not so bad. The article focuses on adult fiction, which helds steady while nonfiction dipped 7%, and doesn't address YA or kid's markets, which were I understand to be pretty strong. And the article is based on Nielsen BookScan numbers, which don't include Walmart etc. which have been making up a bigger piece of the pie.

"Book sales end the year with a surprise"

Of course, the books that were published in 2009 were acquired several years ago. Anecdotally (I have no hard statistics -- if anyone has them, please share), it seems that in 2009 publishers were very stingy about buying new books and that agents were very stingy about taking on new clients.

I wonder if publishers and agents will soon start pumping up the acquisitions pipeline to make up for their recent caution. Or is this Crain's article an outlier?

01-04-2010, 01:23 AM
I think publishers are likely to continue to be conservative generally. The economy hasn't improved enough to give anyone confidence, and stockholders want to see some growth on their investments.

Of course, anyone in this business knows there's an incredible amount of waste, and certainly ways in which the whole process of publication could be streamlined and made more cost-effective.

Instead, pubs are cutting advances, tinkering with various royalties, working hard to grab all the profits in epublishing before writers wake up and smell their dwindling income, and are otherwise doing their damndest to alienate the people who create the product they supposedly want to sell.

Am I bitter? Just a little bit. And I'm one of the success stories.

Which is rather mind-boggling when you think about it.