Good News: Reading Is Still Popular

Reading is still popular. In fact, most people have good intentions about reading!

A study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Rakuten Kobo found that 71% of Americans say they’d like to read more than they currently do. Our busy and distracted lives present barriers to reading more. Survey respondents reported that these main barriers include:

  • Scrolling through social media (49%)
  • Playing games on a phone (30%)
  • Watching TV shows (29%)
  • Sitting in Traffic (28%)
  • Constantly checking their phone (26%)

The good news is that the majority of Americans are still reading. Check out these five findings on books and reading in the United States.

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The Growing Demand for Paper

The cost to print a book keeps increasing. IngramSpark and Lightning Source recently raised their printing fees—again. A number of independent authors are frustrated by the rising costs.

The Demand for Paper is Increasing

We live in a digital age. If we are operating more in the digital realm, shouldn’t paper consumption be going down? If consumption is going down, wouldn’t this mean that paper is more affordable due to supply and demand?

Historically a shrinking demand would have led to overcapacity and cheaper prices in the paper industry. However, according the Publishing Executive, this is no longer the case.

In fact, we are using more paper due to booming ecommerce.  When people purchase goods online, these items must be shipped to them—and they are shipped in cardboard packages. Cardboard is paper. As a result, the demand for cardboard is increasing.

In response, the two or three manufacturers of paper products that dominate the North American paper industry (they produce 90% of paper) have designated more of their machines for making cardboard. This means there are fewer machines making paper for magazines and books, reducing the supply and increasing the price.

Paper is still very popular with people. Paper is safe, secure, sustainable, and trusted. Two Sides, a nonprofit initiative, has found that:

  • 64% of 18-24-year-olds are concerned the overuse of electronic devices could be damaging to their health.
  • 88% of people believe they understand, retain or use information better when they read print.
  • 68% believe that books are more likely to encourage learning and the development of other skills than using screens.
  • 56% of individuals trust the news stories they read in printed newspapers, while only 35% trust the news stories they read in social media.

Additional reasons people still love print are listed in the infographic below.

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You Have to Spend Money to…

Sometimes, you have to spend money to save money. It seems counter intuitive, but it is true.

Take membership warehouse clubs— think Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s. Each of these clubs charges members an annual membership fee to shop in their warehouses. A whole host of cost-saving benefits come with a club membership, helping members save money on needed everyday items and services. The overall benefit is a win for members, as savings add up to more than what members pay for an annual membership.

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) operates under the same premise. The association offers independent authors and small publishers a host of cost-saving benefits. The savings provided members of the association adds up to more than the cost of an annual membership. Some of these cost-saving benefits include:

  1. Free title setup and revisions with IngramSpark (a minimum $45 savings).
  2. Free title setup and first year market access fee waived with Lightning Source (a minimum $50 savings).
  3. A 15% discount on Bowker’s products including ISBNs and barcodes at myidentifiers.com (a minimum $18 savings on one ISBN).
  4. A $25 credit when accessing Reedsy’s services which include editing and cover design.
  5. A 10% discount when ordering book templates and cover designs from Book Design Templates (a $5 minimum savings).
  6. A summer publicity special from a publicist for CIPA Members saving them hundreds of dollars in publicity service fees.

These are just a few of the ways Christian Indie Publishing Association saves our members money. In addition, the association offers members free downloads on a number of checklists and reference guides that usually cost money to obtain. These include:

  • A list of over 70 radio and podcast outlets interviewing authors with contact information.
  • A Checklist for Creating a Professional-Looking Book.
  • A Book Launch Marketing Checklist.
  • A Metadata Checklist.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Joining a publishing association can save you money in the long run. Don’t just take my word for it. Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association agree. They say:

The benefits I have already reaped from membership in CIPA have far surpassed the membership fee. CIPA has far exceeded my expectations in terms of the outstanding resources you provide for authors.”

You can read more testimonials at https://www.christianpublishers.net/membership/testimonials.

Christian Indie Publishing Association is running a summer special on Membership with the organization. For just $120 you can join now and receive membership through December 2020. That’s 18-months of membership and a savings of $60 for you!

Don’t miss out on your chance to save money. If you are not a member, you can join today at: https://www.christianpublishers.net/membership/become-a-member.

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Photo courtesy of Maitree Rimthong.

The Book Distribution Conundrum

The big news this month is that Baker & Taylor announced that they will no longer sell books to retailers as of July 15, 2019. This is industry-changing news.

For years, there have been two wholesale companies that sell books to retailers and librarians—Ingram Content Group and Baker & Taylor. Of the two, Baker & Taylor was a small publisher’s friend.

The Distribution Conundrum

Historically it has been very difficult for a small publisher to get their books stocked in Ingram (and in Spring Arbor, the Christian book division of Ingram). Publishers must have at least 10 titles and meet a set annual sales figure in order to place their books directly with Ingram for sales to retailers and librarians. If a small publisher does not meet these requirements, then they have to use a distributor who stocks their books in Ingram. Some of these book distributors include Anchor (Christian books), Independent Publishers Group (IPG), Consortium Book Sales, and Baker & Taylor Publisher Services (formerly BookMasters).

Using a distributor has benefits as well as pitfalls. A distributor is a middleman, so a distributor takes an additional 15% or more of each book sale—over and above the 55–60% discount that the wholesaler (Ingram) requires. Additionally, distributor’s vet the books they represent. So, a publisher has to pass the additional requirements of a distributor in order to be represented by said distributor.

Baker & Taylor, on the other hand, was small-publisher friendly. Small publishers could open an account with Baker & Taylor and have their books stocked directly so that retailers and librarians could place orders for these books.

With the cessation of Baker & Taylor’s sales to retail stores, only one wholesale book company is now selling books to retailers—Ingram. Some in the industry are concerned about what this will mean long-term for retailers and publishers.

 

Baker & TaylorIf you are an independently published author, Baker & Taylor’s decision to cease distribution to retailers will most likely not affect you. Sadly, it will affect a number of small publishers.

Independent authors have been able to make their books available for sale to retailers and librarians through Ingram using one of Ingram’s print-on-demand (POD) services (IngramSpark or Lightning Source) or Kindle Direct Publishing’s expanded distribution service. You may wonder why the loss of Baker & Taylor is such a big deal since small publishers can also use the POD sales route.

Here is what most independent authors do not understand: Retailers rarely order print-on-demand books to stock the shelves of their stores. Print-on-demand titles have a special code in the wholesale system that retailers can spot. As a result, if you are actively trying to get bookstores to stock your title and your book is only available print-on-demand, you have an uphill battle. If your title is listed as a Kindle Direct Published book, you have an even harder climb to get a retailer to stock your book, since retailers consider Amazon their direct competition.

Bookstore

Small publishers understand that they need to have print copies stocked (not POD copies) with wholesalers to increase their chances of book sales to retail stores. This is why the loss of a small- publisher friendly wholesale option for small publishers is a big deal.

While over 50% of books are purchased online, a good percentage of books are still purchased in stores, including bookstores. Savvy publishers know that they must have their books available in multiple locations to garner the most sales. Therefore, access to a wholesale sales option is important for these publishers.

If you are an independently published author, you can take a lesson from small publishers. Having your book available in Amazon alone is not enough. Not everyone shops on Amazon, and, for certain, libraries and retailers don’t order books from Amazon.

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Photo courtesy of Samuel Zeller.

 

Get Caught Reading; It’s Good for You!

May is Get Caught Reading Month. Reading is good for you. It is a wonderful de-stressor and actually prolongs your life.

Here are four more interesting tidbits about reading:

  • U.S. residents spend an average of 16.8 minutes per day reading.
  • U.S. households spend an average of $118 yearly on reading material including newspapers and magazines.
  • Revenue for U.S. book publishers grew 4.6% in 2018, largely due to the increase in audiobook sales.
  • People who read 30 minutes or more a week reported feeling 20% more satisfied with their lives.

I hope that you read on a regular basis.

Each year Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) puts together a cooperative catalog featuring books by our Members. This year’s catalog features 84 titles from 37 CIPA Members.

I invite you to click on the catalog cover pictured below to check out the great Christian titles CIPA Member produce! I am sure you will find within the pages of this catalog a new book you can “get caught reading” this month!

CIPA 2019 Book Catalog

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