Category Archives: Publishers

New (but not surprising) AAP findings this week: paperback, hardcover, and audio sales grow; ebook sales decline

AAPAAP has released some new numbers this week that point to the trend we saw in previous findings: that print (paperback and hardcover) and audio sales continue to grow while ebook sales continue to decline.

As always, when such reports are released, NSR zooms in on ebook numbers. They continue to go down (not up), as we can clearly see, but as we’ve noted previously on this issue, this may actually be a good thing. At least for those who advocate for more affordable access to books online, and especially for those whose advocate free access to books online (beyond libraries). Although disappointing, numbers like this do not confirm that people don’t want to read and access content in digital format. Instead, they confirm that they simply do not want to pay for ebooks, or at least not as much they’ve had to pay thusfar. Continue reading New (but not surprising) AAP findings this week: paperback, hardcover, and audio sales grow; ebook sales decline

Ebook sales continue to decline in 2016. That’s good news (for those who advocate free reading).


NSR is not big on sharing statistics and reports on its site, since numbers released in them are often used to promote and encourage the status quo as opposed to encourage publishers (and all who work with books) to transform and go beyond traditional sales and marketing methods; to take the lead as opposed to rely on reports to justify reinforcing old practices. This report, just released by the Association of American Publishers today, in and of itself isn’t all that surprising (or newsworthy), telling us that in the first half of 2016 book sales were down ‘slightly’ when compared to book sales in 2015. We do, however, want to draw  attention to one statistic in this document: that in the first half of 2016 vs. 2015, sales of ebooks were down 20 percent (to 579.5 million).

This is actually GOOD news. At least for those of us advocating free reading and free access to books online, regardless of geography, status, and membership. Why? Because numbers like this do not confirm that people don’t want to read and access content in digital format. Instead, they confirm that they simply do not want to pay for it. Readers are already used to consuming massive amounts of information for free online, and their expectations will gravitate in the direction of ‘free’ even when it comes to books (including fiction and all types of nonfiction).

It may sound odd, but it actually makes sense. If ebook sales continue to decline, it just may be the signal publishers need to consider opening books online for free consumption while still being able to gain from it (by relying on ebook models that support free reading through sponsorship, like Free Reading Zones, instead of opting for business models that require people or ebook services to purchase publishers’ ebooks in advance). Publishing industry has always been reactive to change, rather than proactive in its efforts to transform itself. Seeing ebook sales decline year after year will not make ebooks go away—their power to eliminate unequal (and unbalanced) access to knowledge (in all forms) is too real to be denied—but it may lead publishers to consider (and reconsider) other options. We look forward to that. Below full press release.—Ed.

Washington, DC; Nov. 16, 2016 – Publishers’ revenues (sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc.) were down 3.4% for the first half of 2016 vs. the same period in 2015. The greatest percentage gains from the first half of the year came from Religious Presses, up 10.4%.

While revenue for Trade Books grew 6.7% in June, the gains were not enough to counter declines from earlier in the year, and the overall category declined 1.1% in the first half of 2016.

“After a tough first quarter — with trade sales down 7.4% from the prior year — second quarter sales have bounced back with 4.6% growth. Sales of adult, children’s and religious books all increased in the second quarter due to a mix of factors including movie tie-ins, a diversity of titles from small and midsize presses, and religious presses recovering from a tough 2015,” said Tom Allen President and CEO of AAP.


  • For the first half of the year, sales in all tracked categories were down 3.4% to $5.37 billion vs. the same six months in 2015. Tracked categories include: Trade – fiction/non-fiction/religious, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses.
    • Publishers’ book sales for June 2016 in all tracked categories were $1.46 billion, down 4.7% from June 2015.
  • In the first half of 2016, compared to the first half of 2015, trade sales were down 1.1% to $3.03 billion:
    • Adult Books had $2.11 billion in sales, down 2.8%
    • Childrens/YA Books had $689.3 million in sales, up 0.9%
    • Religious Presses had $222.4 million in sales, up by 10.4%

Trends for Trade by Format

  • In the first half of 2016 vs. 2015:
    • Paperback books grew 8.8% to $1.01 billion
    • Downloaded audio grew 32.3% to $126.7 million
    • Hardback books grew 0.9% $989.7 million
    • eBooks were down 20.0% to $579.5 million
  • Interesting trends in June:
    • June 2016 had an unusually high percentage of growth in religious presses’ Paperback Books, which are up 54.6% compared to June 2015; the whole category has grown 16.8% over the past half year vs. 2015.
    • June was also a month of incredible growth for downloaded audio, with 51.7% more revenue than June 2015.
    • In June eBooks had their slightest monthly decline in over a year, down only 9.7%.

Below is a chart that shows the market share of various Trade Book formats for the first half of the year from the past six years. Of note, eBooks have around the same percent of market share in 2016 as they did in 2011, while audiobooks doubled their share. The most consistent category has been hardback books, which has ranged from 33.0% to 36.4%.


Educational Materials and Professional Books

  • Educational Materials had a revenue loss of 2.1% for K-12 Instructional Materials and 5.9% for Higher Education Course Materials, in the first half of 2016 vs. 2015.
  • Professional Publishing was down 23.1% in the first half of 2016 vs. the first three months of 2015. These categories include business, medical, law, scientific and technical books. University presses were down 1.7% in the first half of 2016 vs. 2015.


A time to (finally) incorporate indie eBooks into library catalogs


By Emilie Hancock

It’s no secret that technology has impacted reading. As eReading has become more prevalent, readers demand publications in both print and digital formats. Not only has that thirst for varied formats allowed greater freedom for how and when we read — devouring short serials on the bus or listening to audiobooks while running, for instance — it has also allowed more freedom in what, or who, we read. In addition to books available from big publishers, digital publishing has seemingly conjured scores of indie and self-published books out of the shadows. And judging by the success of Hugh Howey and CJ Lyons, among others, readers are happy to include indie books along with those from big-name presses.

However, while most libraries around the country meet patrons’ digital demands by lending eBooks, many have historically been  less than enthusiastic about the idea of adopting indie eBooks. That has been changing in major urban libraries and in the thought leadership of the library world, with good reason. By examining evidence around the consumer demand and affordability of indie eBooks versus eBooks from traditional publishers, we can demonstrate how incorporating indie eBooks into libraries’ catalogs can be good for both patrons and libraries.

The Rise of eReading in Libraries

Libraries have come a long way since the early days of limited archives etched into tablets — made of clay, not pixels and paper — shared with a select group of elite society. 18th-century France ushered in the truly democratized library as we know it today, with the Bibliothèque Nationale offering hundreds of thousands of printed books and manuscripts to the general public, regardless of financial means or education. Since then, libraries have strived to keep up with and serve public interests, including one of the more recent developments spawned by the digital age: eReading.

In addition to print books, patrons also read digitally. Not surprisingly, a rise in the number of devices that Americans own has corresponded to a rise in eReading. What’s more, while the number of people who use dedicated eReaders has stabilized, the number who read eBooks on multipurpose devices like tablets and cellphones has increased substantially, signaling greater diversity in people who read eBooks.

In response to the rising popularity of eReading, 90% of public libraries offer eBook lending services, a statistic that would make the folks behind the American Library Association’s Libraries Transform campaign smile proudly. Additionally, the outlook for eBook presence in libraries is positive. eBook circulation increased 12% from 2013 to 2014, and libraries expect circulation to continue to rise at a similar rate. Plus, readers of all ages are continuing to turn to libraries for eBooks, a fact demonstrated by the vast majority of libraries that are experiencing increased demand for adult, young adult and children’s eBooks in libraries.

Incorporating the Indie Book Movement

Despite libraries’ adoption of eReading, the gap between the number they circulate versus the number of eBooks that are procured via direct purchase is profound. U.S. eBook sales for Amazon alone are at over 1,000,000 units a day and growing, while a 2015 Library Journal (LJ) report shows that the average annual number of eBooks that all of the libraries in the United States lended in 2014 was only 75,600 per day. If librarians turn to patron demand to guide which materials to add and keep in circulation, it would come as no surprise that, historically, the eBooks that libraries choose to lend have often overlapped with those sold by big publishers. After all, purchases reflect readers’ demands.

However, eBook purchases also reflect big publishers’ agendas, which entail aggressive pushes to meet a bottom line that, ironically, conflicts with libraries’ missions to lend books at no cost to the public. On top of that, eBooks by big publishers often cost just as much as or more than their print counterparts and come with usage-based price inflations and restrictions — more irony, considering eBooks don’t experience physical wear and tear.

Luckily, eBooks don’t just facilitate reading. They also make publishing and author discovery easier, a truth to which scores of indie and self-published authors who use library-oriented programs like Pressbooks Public and SELF-e can attest. In fact, so many indie eBooks have now permeated the market that readers are no longer forced to rely on Big Five publishers to find books. Just as libraries democratized who could take advantage of their book lending services, indie and self-publishing have democratized the book market by expanding the selection of books available to consumers beyond big publishers.

Understandably, some readers have been skeptical about the quality of writing that comes with the ease of self-publishing. Less understandably, the same readers sometimes fail to apply that same cautious approach to traditionally published books — many of which are subpar in the eyes of librarians — based on the argument that indie books don’t have esteemed third-party approval. But what indie authors lack in publisher support, they often make up for in sheer reader support. The success of authors who started by self-publishing, like Hugh Howey, CJ Lyons and others, more than proves their worth for readers, and now their books are part of library catalogues across the nation.

Truth be told, readers have been eagerly devouring indie eBooks with increasing enthusiasm, while traditionally published eBook sales are declining. The most recent Author Earnings report, which measures the health of the book market based on profits made by authors rather than publishers, shows that the number of indie eBooks sold has increased by about 15 percentage points in just over two years. During the same time period, the number of eBooks sold that was published by the Big Five has plummeted about 20 percentage points. It’s no mystery why libraries would want to purchase bestsellers for their patrons, but adding indie eBooks to their virtual shelves would please both their patrons and their purses. Not only are they growing in popularity among readers, but they also come at a fraction of the cost of traditionally-published books and are typically free of baggage like restricted usage policies and outrageous price inflations.

The call for libraries to offer more indie eBooks by no means signals an either/or stance on whether to offer traditionally published or self-published eBooks. Just as libraries have adapted to patrons’ desires to read digitally by lending both eBooks and print books, they can respond to patrons’ demands for eBooks by indie authors by adding them to their circulation mix. Considering that readers are the ones to dictate an indie author’s success, libraries have much to gain by challenging themselves to base more acquisitions on a perspective that considers an author’s success among readers.

Emilie Hancock is Content and Media Editor at BiblioLabs, the creators of BiblioBoard. She is the founder of Books Unbound, a literacy program for incarcerated teens in South Carolina. She lives with her husband and their two bossy dogs, and is a patron of the Charleston County Public Library.

NYU Press selects Ingram Publisher Services as its new distribution partner

220px-Ingram_logo[1]Ingram Publisher Services has just announced a joint agreement with NYU Press to provide full-service distribution. From the press release:

“Ingram welcomes NYU Press,” said Mark Ouimet, vice president and general manager of Ingram Publisher Services, PGW, and Consortium. “We are committed to developing services tailored to university presses. The addition of NYU Press helps advance our mission of building a comprehensive, versatile program to advance the global dissemination of knowledge through content.”

Continue reading NYU Press selects Ingram Publisher Services as its new distribution partner

In response to Ebook Sales Declining Report from AAP: It’s all good

In response to Declining Ebook SalesSo we learned yesterday, directly from the Association of American Publishers, that publishers’ overall revenue from ebook sales are declining. Some takeaways, as reported by Digital Book World: Ebook sales declined in 2015; digital audio continued to grow in popularity; trade publishers did better than educational and scholarly publishers; adult books performed better than other trade categories. Always more interested in the “how” rather than the “how much,” I’ll let others report on the numbers and figures, while I reflect on the possible/likely reasons why these trends are prevalent, what they teach us about our relationship with ebooks, and why it actually all makes sense (and cents). Continue reading In response to Ebook Sales Declining Report from AAP: It’s all good

BiblioBoard announces new partnerships for seamless file delivery

BiblioBoard® partners with ePub Direct, Independent Publishers Group, CoreSource and Firebrand

BiblioBoard announces new partnerships with four major content delivery services: ePubDirect, Independent Publishers Group, CoreSource and Firebrand Technologies. These partnerships will better serve current and future publisher partners by creating a seamless file delivery process from the publishers to BiblioBoard. Continue reading BiblioBoard announces new partnerships for seamless file delivery

ALA panel summary: Leading with Ebooks

A few weeks ago at the ALA Annual Conference, Mirela Roncevic, an NSR contributing writer, organized a panel discussion about leading with ebooks.  Panelists included:

  • Jamie LaRue – founder of the Douglas County Libraries Model, a library platform for the management of ebooks.
  • Elizabeth Joseph – recently appointed Coordinator of Information and adult services at The Ferguson Library in Stamford, Connecticut
  • Stuart Smith -  Open Road; featured speaker on Huffington Post Live and is a contributor to multiple literacy blogs.
  • Terry Kirchner – Westchester Library System, Terry has taken the digital leap and fully embraces the potential offered by ebooks.
  • Michael Rockliff set out to become a librarian, and is now Director, School and Library Sales & Marketing at Workman Publishing Company, where he remains happily ensconsed.
  • Yoav Lorch is a writer turned entrepreneur and founder of Total BooX, his third startup.

I enjoyed the initial presentations from both Roncevic and Lorch,  They both agreed to share their slides, which are available here:

Mirela led with a discussion on the difference between a manager and a leader. She provided several examples with regard to ebooks.  For instance, managing ebooks might include words like build, limit, copy, accept, control, or take.  But, leading with ebooks would look more like these words:  create, expand, originate, challenge, inspire, and give. This, of course, relates to both publishers and libraries. Continue reading ALA panel summary: Leading with Ebooks

De Gruyter’s publisher partner Böhlau Verlag completes the digitalization of its catalog

Over 50,000 Titles Now Available through the E-dition Program

Berlin/Cologne/Vienna, 2 June 2014 – The academic press Böhlau Verlag, which has been a publisher partner of De Gruyter since 2013, is making its entire backlist available through De Gruyter’s e-dition program. Over 7,000 works that originally appeared between 1945 and 2009 are now available as eBook-on-demand (EOD) or print-on-demand (POD). The digitalization of Böhlau’s frontlist (titles from 2010 to present) was completed last year. Continue reading De Gruyter’s publisher partner Böhlau Verlag completes the digitalization of its catalog

Interview with Roger Rosen: On embracing technology selectively and holistically

Navigating Rosen Publishing’s 2014 catalog of digital content may at first seem a bit overwhelming: it impresses both as a vibrant presentation of the company’s wide array of digital offerings but it also reminds us of just how “digital” K–12 publishing has become. Or at the very least, it makes those of us still tempted to think of Rosen as merely a “publisher” realize it has now transformed into a multifaceted media company.

Perhaps more than any other independent publisher of K–12 resources on the market today, Rosen has become synonymous with high-quality, always in-demand, constantly evolving interactive content. It has also become synonymous with digital learning solutions, produced to be fully aligned with state, national, STEM, and Common Core standards. Indeed, taking a closer look at Rosen’s offerings today, it’s clear that despite the versatility of its content, Rosen has become a passionate advocate of STEM learning. And they’ve been releasing products to prove it, too.

Spring 2014 issue of eContent Quarterly, now available to subscribers on ALA Techsource’s  web site for download, features a review of Rosen Publishing’s Core Concepts: Period Table, a resource in Rosen’s Core Concepts suite, which launched in 2013 and was followed with the early 2014 release of Core Concepts: Biology. While eContent Quarterly features an exclusive review of the product, taken for a test drive by two school librarians in two different institutions, the interview below with Roger Rosen, president of Rosen Publishing, is available exclusively on No Shelf Required. We caught up with Roger and asked him to shed some light on the company’s journey from a print publisher to a leading digital media company for the K-12 library market. Continue reading Interview with Roger Rosen: On embracing technology selectively and holistically

Cengage Learning emerges from Chapter 11, completes financial restructuring

Great news for Cengage Learning.   The press release is below, or watch this video message from CEO, Michael Hansen.

New York, NY – April 1, 2014 – Cengage Learning, Inc., a leading global educational content, technology and services company for the higher education and K-12, professional and library markets, announced today that it has emerged from Chapter 11, having completed its financial restructuring. Continue reading Cengage Learning emerges from Chapter 11, completes financial restructuring