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Stats & Strategies

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In studying the purchasing habits of consumers, the Book Industry Study Group has come up with some interesting data for all of us:

  • Adult consumer unit book purchases registered a 3% decline in 1998 (the first time a decline has been registered since 1990).
  • Purchases for gift-giving continued a four-year decline to 17% of sales as against an increase to 83% for books bought for oneself.
  • Internet/e-commerce sales were reported for the first time in 1997 and registered an impressive gain of 349% over the previous year, although enjoying only a 1.9% share of the overall sales market.
  • Popular fiction dominated e-commerce sales at 33%, followed by technical/science/education (14%), cooking/crafts (12%), and psychology/recovery (11%).
  • Households with less than $30,000 income bought 41% of all books, with those of more than $75,000 next at 25%.
  • Households in the Pacific States, when indexed, continued to be the heaviest buyers of books, contributing to 19% of purchases.
  • Travel/regional book buyers clearly tilt heavily towards in-person purchasing.
  • Cooking/crafts buyers are very responsive to mail purchasing.
  • Religious book buyers do not appear to respond to e-commerce, but do show a small tilt toward phone ordering.

It’s data like this that helps all of us in patterning our publishing projects.

Time Management Tactics

When talking with PMA members each week, one of the topics that seems to come up repeatedly is how to both manage time and produce good products that will have staying power within the book buying market. Many publishers are pressed into being authors, marketers, publicists, and publishers and at the same time work at another job eight hours a day to support their publishing company.With that in mind, I hope that some of you can take a few moments to either e-mail me (jannathan@aol.com) or fax us at 310/374-3342. Share with us how you have been able to find a solution to managing your business life, your publishing life, and still find time for your personal life.Tell us about your typical workday, work week, work month (how you manage your time in all areas), and we will share your tips with the rest of the PMA publishers through the newsletter.Thanks for being part of helping each other to achieve and succeed!


This article is from thePMA Newsletterfor August, 1999, and is reprinted with permission of Publishers Marketing Association.

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