Publishing News You May Have Missed in 2019

The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change.”  ―Heraclitus

The publishing industry is no exception. It is in a constant state of flux. This past year contained numerous changes for the book industry, especially for the Christian retail industry.

Publishing News from 2019

Following is a quick recap of important publishing news from 2019 that you should be aware of if you write and publish books.

Associations:

Publishing Association Rebranded:  After fifteen years of service Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) was rebranded to Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) to better reflect the changing book industry.

New Christian Bookselling Association Formed: With the demise of CBA, the Association for Christian Retail in 2019, Munce created a new association, Christian Retail Association (CRA) for independent Christian bookstores and upgraded their Christian Product Expo (CPE) to an International show.

Bookstores:

LifeWay Stores Close: LifeWay Christian Resources announced that they would close all 170 of their brick-and-mortar stores in 2019. The company will continue to offer products through their online store at LifeWay.com.

Independent Christian Retail Stores Counted: The Get It Local Today program for Christian retail launched an interactive map showcasing existing retail locations that sell mostly Christian products. The program identified more than 1,800 stores across America.

Baker & Taylor Ceased Distribution to Bookstores: Baker & Taylor decided to exit the retail book distribution business in the US, to focus on library sales. This leaves Ingram as the only major print book distributor to bookstores in the US.

Ingram Launched a Stock Check App: Ingram, the largest book distributor, released an app that anyone can use to check Ingram’s on-hand quantity for any title in the company’s vast inventory. Once downloaded, you can search for any title by scanning the book’s barcode or manually entering the ISBN (EAN), book title, or author name to check the stock instantly.

Book Promotion:

Amazon Eliminated Two Book Promotion Services: Amazon closed its Kindle Matchbook program and ceased allowing Amazon Giveaways. On the flip side, Amazon expanded their advertising for authors to the United Kingdom (UK) and Germany.

Barnes & Noble Implemented an Advertising Portal for Authors: Barnes & Noble Press introduced an advertising portal giving authors the opportunity to create ad campaigns. Ads appear on relevant BN.com pages based on chosen genres.

BookBub Introduced Chirp for Audiobooks: BookBub responded to surging audiobook listening by extending its platform for book discovery and promotion to audiobooks through Chirp.

Google+ Shut Down:  Google+ shuttered in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

One of the services that Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) provides our Members is up-to-date book industry information related to publishing and marketing books. Each month, our newsletter provides our Members with this valuable information. If you are not a Member of the Association, I encourage you to join for the 2020 year. You can sign up today at www.christianpublishers.net.

Related Posts:
5 Book Publishing Trends You Need to Know for 2020
Good News: Religious Book Sales Are Strong
How Many Christian Bookstores Remain?

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Photo courtesy of Markus Spiske.

Publishing is Big Business

Every year Bowker reports the number of books publishing in the United States. As long as I have been watching these figures (over a decade), the number of books published each year has grown. Book publishing is big business.

Think about this: In 2014, Amazon’s book sales were about $5.6 billion, which is about 11.6% of Amazon’s retail sales. This amount of book sales represents the equivalent of 3,600 book stores. That’s a whole lot of books.

In fact, book publishing is the largest sector of content creation. According to a report by Code Mantra, in 2012 the book publishing industry made $151 billion in sales. This was more than the movies and entertainment industry made ($133 billion), more than magazines made ($107 billion), more than the video game industry made ($63 billion), and more than the music industry made ($50 billion).

Publishing is Big BusinessI know that a large reason the book publishing industry sells so much is due to the educational book market. However, the truth is, books are outselling movies, video games, music, and magazines.

If you are an author or a publisher, these statistics should lift your spirits. The book industry is a strong industry. Book sales are strong. People are buying books and will continue to buy books for years to come.

If you are struggling with book sales, the reason is not the economy nor is it the media competing for people’s reading time. The reason you are struggling for book sales is either due to the quality of your book or your marketing strategies (or lack thereof).

Books are selling. If you want to sell more books, I encourage you to take the time to educate yourself on strategies and techniques you can use to engage readers. You can:

  1. Read books on how to market and promote your book and follow their advice. If you write and publish Christian books, my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace is a good place to start.
  2. Join an author or publisher association like Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) to receive ongoing information and services to help you effectively promote your books.
  3. Take part in online webinars and classes that teach you how to effectively promote your books.

The book industry is big business. That includes your books. Knowledge is power. Get the knowledge you need to sell more books.

Related Posts:
Reading on the Decline in America
The State of Fiction Reading
A Half-Million Self-Published Books

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Is Your Book a Work of Beauty?

Practicality and beauty—can they go hand in hand?

I have been reading the book Whats Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman. The book presents a gospel-oriented perspective on the proper motivation to drive productivity.

beauty

One of the interesting points that Matt makes in his book is that shoddy work is a failure of love. He quotes Proverbs 18:9, “Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.” Equating being slack with destroying, Matt shows that creating something of inferior-quality is not loving, because the Bible equates it with destroying.

Matt goes on to say that we are to care about good design and involve beauty in our work. That what we create should not just be about “usability” but also about “beauty.” He states that our products need to speak to the whole person, not just the practical, utilitarian side.

Matt has a great point. I have often said that when authors and small publishers produce Christian books that are inferior in cover design, internal layout and design, and in need of editing, that such books do not reflect well on our Creator whom each book is about. Inferior quality books actually reflect poorly on Christ and do not help to advance the gospel.

Some authors refute this saying that it is what is in the message that matters more than the presentation. However, Matt Perman’s take that shoddy work is a failure to love negates this idea. We are created in God’s image. That means humankind is designed to be both emotional and practical. God is beautiful. Our work should reflect his beauty and bring glory to him.

If we truly love God and others as ourselves, we will give them our best, not our haphazard efforts or leftovers. Presenting our message in a well-designed package (book design) demonstrates our love for both God and our fellow man. While there may be a good message in a cheap package, the message becomes more powerful when it is wrapped in beauty and hence speaks to the whole person.

What about you? Are you ensuring that your books are creations of beauty as well as utility? Are you taking the time, effort, and money to produce books that truly reflect your Creator? If you do, your message will have a greater impact.

Related Posts:
Gilded Book Covers
Market Your Book as a Gift
Do You Know What It Takes to Sell a Book?

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Learn to Promote Your Books Better

“I know that you can’t just write a book and say I’m not going to have anything to do with marketing. If you don’t care enough about it to try and figure out how to get it in the hands of other people, nobody else is going to either.”

This quote by best-selling author and mega-church pastor David Jeremiah sums up an important principle in marketing and promoting a book. If you as the publisher or author don’t care enough to figure out how to get the book you have produced into the hands of readers, nobody else is going to either.

So many authors I speak to just want to find someone to do the marketing for them. The truth is that no one is as passionate about your book as you are. No one else will carry the same devotion and dedication to promoting your book as you.

Each year, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) presents a Publishers’ Institute at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS). The purpose of this seminar is to educate and encourage small publishers and independently published authors in creating and promoting their materials.

This year, Publishers’ Institute: Marketing for Success focused on helping publishers and author successfully promote books as well as find specialty sales for these books. For those who could not attend, the seminar is available as an audio download for just $12.00 on CPSA’s website just click on this link: http://www.christianpublishers.net/?page_id=92.

Attending or purchasing the audio version of Publishers’ Institute is money well-spent. Don’t just take my word for it. Watch this testimonial from one of this year’s attendees.

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