April 15-30, 2005 Edition

New BISG Study

Reveals Billions

More in Book Sales

New York, NY/04/06/05—Under the Radar: A Breakthrough, In-Depth Study of the Book Industry’s Underreported Segments and Channels shows that—contrary to conventional wisdom—small and midsize publishers generate enough business in the aggregate to challenge assessments of concentration.

“Since so many smaller publishers operate under the radar of traditional tracking mechanisms, it’s been tempting in the past to think of them as ‘regional’ or ‘niche,’ and to assume that they’re responsible for a small fraction of book sales in the market,” said Jeff Abraham, Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group. “Our new study shows that this kind of thinking won’t fly in the future.”

Under the Radar reports that approximately 63,000 publishers with annual revenues of less than $50 million generate aggregate sales of $14.2 billion, and that a subset of that population – roughly 3,600 publishers with annual revenues of $1 million to $49.9 million – generates $11.5 billion of that amount. By comparison, the older, more visible segment of the industry measured by conventional tracking systems generates annual revenues of $23.7 billion to $28.5 billion, depending on the source of the estimate.

Smaller publishers also have impressive track records with marketing strategies and tactics that industry giants now see as the wave of the future.

Through its dozens of tables and charts, the new study shows that:

small and midsize publishers have been multiplying, and often prospering, while the largest publishing companies have been consolidating. small and midsize publishers have been using routes to readers beyond the bookstore world, and often selling more books outside trade channels than within them, while the largest booksellers have been claiming more of the traditional bookstore market. More specifically, the study findings indicate that small and midsize publishers do more than 50% of their business outside book-trade channels and inside sales channels designed mainly to serve other industries that the book industry has not monitored.

“The fact that these publishers are doing billions of dollars’ worth of business outside trade channels sheds new light on concentration in bookselling,” said Judith Appelbaum, Chair of the Book Industry Study Group’s Publications Committee and Managing Director of Sensible Solutions, Inc. “It could mean that people in the government, the media and various segments of the publishing industry will need to reassess their judgments.”

Under the Radar derives from a survey conducted for the Book Industry Study Group by the market research firm InfoTrends, which specializes in the printing and publishing industries.

The report includes:

Detailed information about dollar and unit sales Findings that cover content, markets, sales channels, rights transactions, use of the Internet, return rates, and more Breakdowns that highlight differences between the smallest publishers and the midsize group responsible for most of the revenue.

About the Book Industry Study Group, Inc.

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) is the industry’s leading trade association for policy, standards, and research. Membership consists of publishers, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, librarians, and others engaged in the business of print and electronic media. For over 25 years, BISG has provided a forum for all industry professionals to come together and efficiently address issues and concerns to advance the book community.

Our member-driven organization uniquely represents all segments of our industry from publishers and e-publishers to paper manufacturers, libraries, authors, printers, wholesalers, retailers and e-tailers, as well as organizations concerned with the book community as a whole.