Library Board and staff had the pleasure of hearing a presentation recently by Len Vlahos, outgoing executive director of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), the leading book trade association for standardized best practices, research and information, and education and events. Looking at trends in the publishing industry over the past few years (study data covered the years 2008-2013), Len shared some interesting insights, a few of which are included below.
- 77% of trade sales continue to be in physical format, with only 23% being digital content (e-books).
- E-books did experience rapid expansion both in units sold and in revenue from 2009-2012, during the period when many people acquired and started using smartphones and tablets such as iPads for the first time. But this trend has declined as the novelty of these devices has worn off. At the same time, hard and soft cover book sales remained stable.
- Two titles accounted practically all by themselves for an increase in trade book sales in 2012 of almost 8% - what Len referred to as the “Fifty Shades of Hunger Games” phenomenon.
In fact, Len is so bullish on the future of print publishing that he is moving to Colorado to take over ownership of the famed Tattered Cover independent bookstores!