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The Rest of Us Independent Publishers Survey

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The survey of independent presses conducted by PMA and the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) in the fall of 1998 is finally finished and the preliminary information we received from this survey is even more eye-opening than we anticipated. Our (independent publishing) portion of the industry accounts for a conservative $14.3 billion annual sales within the publishing community. This figure is extremely interesting and informative since the previous size of the industry had heretofore been reported by BISG Book Industry Trends to total $20.8 billion, and that figure did not include our portion of the publishing business.
The study, which is entitled “The Rest of Us: The First Study of America’s 53,000 Independent, Smaller Book Publishers,” will be released during Independent’s Day at BookExpo America, Saturday, May 1st. The study will be simultaneously released on the PMA homepage (http://www.pma-online.org), where you can download this $75 report at no charge if you are a PMA member. Included in the study were the number of years in business, number of titles in print, annual sales volume, methods of distribution, and other information relevant to our portion of the industry.
A special thank you to the 5% of publishers who took the time to respond to this survey. We hope that in the future we can raise the percentage of response. Once you read the report, I’m sure you will want to participate in future surveys. And a great big thank you to Sandi Paul of the BISG and Judith Appelbaum of Sensible Solutions, who also sits on the BISG Board, for making this report become a reality.

The Emerging World of Electronic Publishing

While attending the BISG meeting in March to make the presentation about this survey, I was privileged to be present at a special afternoon event which discussed the standards and statutes for delivery of intellectual property in the emerging electronic world. D. Jeffrey Blumenthal of Follett presented an overview of digital content and digital delivery, answering some questions and raising some thought. Since this is a new world for most publishers, the usage payment is one that is constantly being redefined. Does one obtain a one-time payment for digital or can it be treated like the traditional market with payment for each and every usage? We learned how the Digital Object Identifier may be the ISBN of the future.
Other speakers covered the legal statutes of concern, on-demand printing (both Ingram via Lightning Print and Baker & Taylor via Replica Books are already involved in this method of delivery), how the next generation of EDI & XML will affect future publishing, and how E-Books will play a role in future publishing plans.
This rapidly emerging part of the book publishing industry will greatly affect publishing as we know it today. I encourage all of you to read as much as you can on this new part of our industry… to ask questions of anyone who is currently in electronic publishing… and to consider how this type of delivery will fit into your future publishing plans.
As with new trends in the past, I believe that the independent publisher will be ready to jump on this bandwagon first and will be able to increase the profitability of titles already in print and those planned for the future by implementing this new technology rapidly.





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

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