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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Ingram Spark

Move over Random House. The publishing world is changing. No longer do large publishing houses have the same hold on the book industry. Now, small publishers and authors are producing books and selling them, sometimes in large quantities. In fact, small publishers now make up 20% of the publishing industry.

ingramSparkLogo

The publishing world is beginning to embrace this seismic shift. Ingram, the largest book wholesale company once only deigned to work with publishers with 10 or more titles. When print-on-demand appeared, they opened Lightning Source and allowed small publishers to use this service to gain distribution. Then, about 2 years ago, they allowed the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) to form an agreement with them in regards to IBPA member publishers. This agreement allows member publishers of IBPA to obtain distribution for a print book with Ingram (with a setup fee of $300) if they agree to participate in at least one of Ingram’s marketing programs.

Now, Ingram is going one step further to engage more small and self-publishers—all in an effort to stay in the game and to make more money. Next month, they are launching a new publishing platform called Ingram Spark.

Ingram Spark will be a “Publish on Demand” platform which will incorporate both print and ebook distribution. By combining print and digital platforms, the program is supposed to simply the entire distribution process while offering Ingram’s worldwide reach.

With Ingram Spark, it will be free to open an account. However, there will be setup fees. Spark will charge a $49 fee to publish both an ebook and a print book ($25 for just an ebook). In addition, there will be a $12 fee per year to be listed in Ingram’s catalog (as with Lightning Source). Publishers will be paid a royalty when books are sold—40% for ebooks and 45% for print books (not sure if that is after printing costs or not). Publishers will have the ability to set that retail price, but Ingram will set a fixed discount for retail sales (unlike Lightning Source where the publisher can choose the discount).

This leaves me with the question of what the advantage of Ingram Spark will be over Ingram’s existing Lightning Source program. The only thing I can think of is that it will make the process of setting up both print-on-demand and ebook distribution easier for a publisher since both will be under the same account. Currently, print and ebook distribution are two separate agreements and processes with Lightning Source. Other than that, I don’t see any other advantages. Maybe you do. If so, let me know.

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