Publishing Industry Update

If you are an author, editor, literary agent, publisher, or own a bookstore, you need to know the latest trends in publishing. Authors must keep up with this, because if your book is being rejected, these stats may tell you why.

In other words, it may not be your writing. It could be that the market has cooled off in your genre.

However, the opposite is also true. Your genre may be hot right now and you should be sending out those query letters. (If your book is ready.)

Adult hardbacks have grown in 2009 by 6.9%. Although the numbers have leveled off this year, do not listen to the rumors that hardbacks are going away. (How many years have you heard that board games would go away and be replaced by video games? It hasn’t happened and never will.)

Paperbacks fell in 2009 by 5.2%. Don’t worry though, because paperbacks are on the rise by 15%-35%.

Children’s and young adult hardback dropped 5.0% last year. Expect a continued fall of historic figures. Maybe by 50%. If you have a children’s or young adult book, you may have to ride this wave until later this year or even in 2011. There is a slight rise in educational paperbacks for younger students and showing decent signs of continuing in that direction.

Mass market stores, (Target) have seen paperback sales drop 4.0%, but a slow rebound is on the way.

Book clubs and mail order sales dropped 2.0%. No prediction on which way they will go at this point. My advice, stay away for the moment.

Audio books were down 12.9% last year, but 2010 is proving much better, with gains in the 12% area.

Religious books are down 12% and there is a steady drop this year. My opinion on this decrease is because the market is flooded with this genre, along with “Self-Help” and “Inspiration” books. Personally, I like that so many authors are writing in this genre, but the market is a little overwhelmed at the moment.

EL-HI books were down 13.8% in 2009. (Elementary and High School books.) However, the schools are showing gains in the 25% area this year.

College textbooks were up in 2009 by 12% and on the rise by a staggering 262%! (University Presses must be a hot ticket right now.)

Okay, I know you want to hear the numbers for e-books. I won’t keep you waiting:

E-books were up 176.6% in 2009 and are seeing gains of 339%. Not a big surprise. Looks like authors should continue getting their manuscripts into the e-book industry.

Literary agents and publishers will expect you to understand the industry and the trends. My advice is to hire a manager to keep you updated and put you in the right markets.

Ron Knight

Author of “2-10”

My wonderful manager is Melissa Link:

Research for this blog provide by the AAP

Ron Knight

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  1. great post as usual!