Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Numbers Game, and Is It All Bad for Authors??

Cheryl's interesting post about why her books aren't in all the stores prompted me to rummage through my file folder for further stats on the state of publishing. This info came from someone on another chat list who'd posted what she'd read in Publishers Weekly. These are 2004 stats, and they state that Nielsen Bookscan tracked sales of 1.2 million books in the U.S. Of those 1.2 million, 950,000 sold few than 99 copies. Another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies. Only 25,000 books sold more than 5,000 copies. Fewer than 500 sold more than 100,000 copies. And only 10 books sold more than a million copies each.

Whew, I've already surpassed tha 950,000 book category, and hardly anyone knows who I am. There's hope the future, whether I land a contract with one of those big six publishing conglomerates or not. And here's a big reason.

PMA, the Independent Book Publishers Association is an organization for independent publishers of all sizes. Established in 1983, it now has over 4,000 members. According to a PMA article written in 2003, there are over 80,000 independent publishers in the U.S. whose combined revenue was $30 billion that year. Independents were growing at a rate of 22% per year, and this was five years ago. On the whole, independent presses are doing just fine. The internet has levelled the playing field a little bit by allowing us small guys to reach out to millions of people.

The big six might not be available to most of us, but there are plenty of other options. And as Cheryl wisely pointed out, it's a matter of going out and finding them. Publishing and sales opportunities are there. It's up to us to make the most of them. By the way, if any of you want to learn more about PMA go to Lots of interesting stuff there.

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