This month I’m touching
briefly on several subjects: used-book sales, bookstore sales figures, the
Green Press initiative, and hurricane relief.
If you missed the hand-wringing
over the Book Industry Study Group’s findings about the growth of the used-book
market, join in now. These are some of the BISG study’s highlights:
· In 2004, used-book sales in the
United States surpassed $2.2 billion, with more than 111 million units sold.
· Sale of used books last year
represented 8.4 percent of total consumer spending on books.
· The long-established used-book
market in the educational arena had sales of more than $1.6 billion last year,
up 7 percent from 2003. The market outside that arena is considerably smaller
but it is growing much faster, with sales topping $589 million in 2004—up
a whopping 25 percent in one year.
· Online sales of used books totaled
$609 million in 2004, an increase of 33 percent over the previous year. The
leading online book vendors reported double-digit growth in all areas.
· Sales at traditional used-books
stores were up 4.5 percent.
· Outside the education market,
adult trade books, professional books, and religious books were among the
categories that showed significant growth in used-book sales.
“This report will be a must-read
for the book business,” said Boris Wertz of Abebooks.com, who chairs BISG’s
used-book subcommittee. “It shows used books are a force to be reckoned with,
and booksellers are skillfully exploiting the Internet. High consumer
satisfaction is no surprise as we see word of mouth fueling growth.”
The BISG study, which was
co-sponsored by PMA, is based on sales data from leading online book vendors
and on research involving more than 500 booksellers and 2,000 consumers.
Abebooks, Albris, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Biblio.com, Bowker, eBay,
MIR, and Powell’s provided sales information for the project.
The full report will be issued
this month. Visit www.bisg.org
for more information, and look for additional coverage of used-book sales in
this month’s Director’s Desk and upcoming issues of <span
Bookstore Sales Figures
A startling statistic coming out
of the recent Book Standards Summit in New York highlights a cold, hard reality
and underlines the need to be selective in title acquisition and to set
Jim King, general manager of
Nielsen Bookscan, which presented the event, shocked a few people (but perhaps
not battle-weary sales managers and reps) when he revealed that 93 percent of
all books whose sales Nielsen tracked last year sold fewer than 1,000 units.
Green Press Initiative
An encouraging new study published
magazine reports that 60 percent of the book publishers it questioned about use
of recycled paper said they have used some recycled paper with postconsumer
content at least once. Another 17 percent who said that they haven’t used any
recycled stock in book production “are interested in exploring it as an
The survey was co-sponsored by the
Green Press Initiative (GPI), a nonprofit organization based in Ann Arbor,
Michigan, whose mission is to work with authors, publishers, printers, paper
manufacturers, and others to “conserve natural resources and preserve
Currently, 92 U.S. publishers have
taken the GPI pledge, and a similar number have made pledges to Markets
Initiative, a sister organization in Canada. As a prerequisite to joining GPI
and using its logo, publishers must enter into good-faith but nonbinding
commitments to reduce the use of paper made from old-growth and endangered
forests and replace it with recycled paper over a three- to five-year period.
Some publishers report that the
price gap between recycled stocks and so-called “virgin” stocks (paper made
from old-growth forests) is closing.
The North American printers listed
below stock recycled papers with at least 30 percent postconsumer content (PCC)
for uncoated text stock, and at least 10 percent PCC for coated and cover
stock, according to GPI:
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>AGM V Marquis (stocks 100 percent PCC)
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Brady Palmer Printing Co.
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Capital City Press
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Friesens (stocks 100 percent PCC)
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Houghton Boston (stocks 100 percent PCC)
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Integrated Book Technologies
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Maple-Vail Book Manufacturing Group (Maple Press and
Vail Ballou Press)
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>McNaughton & Gunn
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>PA Hutchison (stocks 100 percent PCC)
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Thomson-Shore (stocks 100 percent PCC; first U.S.
printer to stock a 50 percent postconsumer recycled house sheet)
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Transcontinental (stocks 100 percent PCC)
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Webcom Limited (stocks 100 percent PCC)
GPI has thin foundation funding,
and it could use your help. Donations to the organization would be appreciated.
You can send a check to the Green Press Initiative in care of Erin Johnson,
GPI, 15225 Baughman Dr., Silver Spring, MD 20906.
More information: <span
PMA is working with the American
Library Association to facilitate book donations from our publisher members to
help libraries rebuild collections destroyed by the hurricanes on the Gulf
Coast. Expect to hear directly from our executive director, Jan Nathan, about
this. We’ve asked libraries that suffered major damage to be specific about
what they need when they have made repairs and begin to restock the shelves. We
will pass this information on to you when the time is right.
Meanwhile, we have identified
several PMA members whose businesses have been hurt badly by the hurricanes and
offered them free dues for next year, as well as free participation in a
variety of marketing programs to help them get back on their feet.
As always, I welcome your comments
and ideas for PMA—on these subjects and any others. Please contact me at email@example.com.