Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Conference Recap - Deb Porter, The Times they are a'changing!

Back to our conference recaps...

Today, I want to go over some things that Deb Porter informed us about in her session, "The Times they are A'Changing." I love facts, and Deb did a wonderful job of explaining where things are going in the book publishing industy. So sit back and take these facts in. This is interesting stuff! Exciting stuff! Stuff that makes you go, Hmmmm....

I won't go into a huge dialogue, but will simply list some facts for you to ponder.

  • Number of books published in the United States in the year 2008: 550,000
  • Number of publishers in the U.S. 190,000 (a large % of these are independent)
  • Approximate nummber of book titles carried by the average Borders store: 200,000
  • People DO judge a book by its cover- make yours stand out!
  • Hard cover and travel books declining
  • Childrens and YA book sales are growing
  • Online book sales are great!
  • e-books on the rise and are experiencing the fastest growth of all books(no surprise there)
  • Largest e-book buying age-group: 50-60+ (Didn't see that coming, did you?)
  • Adult non-fiction declining because of online content availability
  • On the other hand, self-help, biography, and finance book sales are up
  • Leadership and management book sales have dropped
  • Inspirational & motivational books on the rise (YAY for us!)
  • However, spiritual books declining
  • Adult fiction is strong! (Another YAY)
  • Mystery has dropped (bad for me, as I am writing a mystery at the moment)
  • Political books have increased
  • Espionage down
  • Superheroes are strong (no pun intended)
  • Juvenile sales are very strong
  • Graphic novels are up

Some things to look for in the very near future:

Amazon Kindle - already available and getting excellent reviews. Even if you are resistant to this, chances are, you'll change your mind soon. Here are some facts about Kindles:

  • Holds up to 1,500 books!
  • About $250-$300 to buy
  • Long battery life
  • Visually appealing
  • Holds and reads like a real book
  • Amazon cataglogs titles for instant wireless delivery
  • Books are inexpensive (average $10)
  • Text to Speech translation (great for when you leave the house and don't want to put that book down!)

Something else to look for: Expresso Book Machines. It may seem far-fetched and far-off, but don't be surprised if these machines start popping up in the next couple years. Apparently, they look like ATM machines and you are able to purchase a complete book print-out of thousands and thousands of selections, including classics that are hard to find. A 300-page book can be printed in 4 minutes. WOW!

Told you this stuff was interesting. What will be more interesting is how these facts change in the next year and which numbers will rise and decline.

If you have any insight into things not covered here, I'd love to know!


Vonnie said...

That last workshop still has my mind much to think about!

For a writer it's all so exciting and scary.

I know that we can't stop these changes if we wanted to. We might as well jump on board and hang on tight, for we're going for a ride!

Vonnie said...

Do you have the links to the sites which show the rise and fall of the different genres?


Pat said...

Wow Lynda, love these facts. I have been resistant to Kindle so I'll have to look into it to see what all the fuss is about. Wow...things are a-changin'!

Lynda Schab said...


Deb didn't give the website links. These are all facts she learned at the publishing conference in New York that she attended this Spring. You could ask on the FW boards. She might have a few links to pass along. :-)

Lisa Mikitarian said...

Great recap, Lynda--thanks!

Dara said...

The Kindle still isn't an option for me--at least not until it drops below the $200 mark :P

Eventually the eReaders will be priced at a decent range for me (like digital cameras and mp3 players).

I also hesitate to get one because you (currently) can't "rent" books from the library on them. I don't buy very many books because I'm a picky reader and feel like my money is wasted if I can't get through the story. :P With library books, I can just take it back without the worry about losing $20 on a book I didn't end up finishing.

However, I do know that the company I used to work for in high school and college is looking into developing library eBook platforms so they can be read on iPhones and eReaders. :) So that's right around the corner!

Kim Russell said...

As a Kindle owner, I will say that it "had me from hello". It encompasses everything I love: reading, techy stuff, no books cluttering up the house, I could go on and on. After eyeing it for several months, I decided to purchase with my yearly bonus and I don't know that I will ever read a real book again. It has become one of those things I can't live without (laptop, washer/dryer, etc.)