View Full Version : Bookscan Thoughts

11-27-2006, 10:37 PM
Is anyone here familiar with Bookscan (http://www.bookscan.com/)?

My agent has been sharing my sales figures from Bookscan, and it's been eye-opening, to say the least. As a first-time author, I know I didn't get a huge print run or a big publicity budget, and to be honest, I don't know what numbers would be good. My agent seems mildly pleased, which is a good sign.

As I understand it, an account runs in the thousands of dollars, so I can't imagine it would be worth it for an individual author. Which is probably good ... I obsess enough over the Amazon rankings already. Still, I'm enough of a detail-oriented control freak that I really wish I had more access to hard numbers, both for my book and others so I could compare.

So I'd be curious to hear if other folks have experience using Bookscan, and if so, what are your thoughts?

Cathy C
11-27-2006, 10:46 PM
Thankfully, Romance Writers of America has contracted with BookScan to provide the Top 100 Romance numbers to members for a fee of just $57.50 per year. I signed up immediately, needless to say!

BookScan numbers are useful to a certain extent. They're pretty good at tracking primary markets--chain bookstores, independents and such--but they don't have a lot of the secondary markets, like Wal-Mart and newsstand distributors like Anderson and Levy, included.

Yes, an account runs in the thousands. I believe for ALL of the lists (it's split into genres) the annual price is about $750K. Of course, it lists sales figures for ALL ISBNs since BookScan started, so it's hugely useful to editors who want to either a) track their own books; or b) determine whether to buy from an already published author. The better the numbers, the better the chance to make money from them.

I really think SFWA, HWA and some of the others need to consider making a deal like RWA did with BookScan. It would be worth it to many members, even if it cost more than RWA can charge (there are over 9,000 members of RWA, and about half are published. That's pretty good built-in income for BookScan, because a lot of the pubbed members sign up!)

11-27-2006, 11:11 PM
Some research libraries also subscribe to Bookscan; I know Rand does, and I've used it at a few libraries. There are different "tracks" so that libraries can pick and choose.

Mostly, I think Bookscan is targeting larger agencies and publishers. I note that it doesn't track college bookstores, which, given the amount of genre fiction they sell, is an interesting gap.

12-01-2006, 04:54 AM
Actually, some of us have been discussing the Neilsen Bookscan statistics in another thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=952518&postcount=33).

12-01-2006, 06:14 AM
Thanks, Jamie!