Saturday, July 19, 2008

U.S. Trade Book Market Facing Poor Sales

Simba Information expects the balance of 2008 to be difficult for the U.S. trade book market and is projecting a sales decrease of about 5%; erasing the gains of 2007, the year of runaway hits such as "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and "The Secret." The projections were made in "Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2008," the latest strategic market report from Simba, a leading media industry forecast and analysis firm.

"There are several factors at work here -- the lack of a blockbuster book drawing in sufficient store traffic, consumers feeling the heat of a tough economy, and bookstores under pressure to perform -- all combining to make 2008 a rough year for the U.S. trade book market," said Michael Norris, senior analyst at Simba.

For the first time, "Business of Consumer Book Publishing" has a detailed analysis of sales channel allocation, which provides a much-needed perspective on the challenges of book retailing in the current market landscape. The expanding role of 'non-bookstores' is well documented in the report and helps show why the largest bookstore chains seem to be having many of the same challenges of independent booksellers.

"In a bookstore, the future of the store depends on the book. In a non-bookstore, the future of the book depends on the store," said Norris, who added that the concentration of attention around a small number of blockbuster titles and the ability of non-bookstores to price these titles as low as they want has created a "volatile situation."

The report wasn't all bad news, as Simba identified several consumer book categories that are the most likely to see an increase through 2008. Some of the 18 categories covered extensively in the report include Biographies, Cookbooks, Political Science, Business, Mystery, Self-Help and Graphic Novels. An overview and assessment of electronic books is also provided as well as detailed breakdowns of publishing trends.

The report also provides a detailed breakdown of leading publishers by net revenue and where they stand in this difficult industry, as well as a thorough analysis of leading booksellers including Barnes & Noble and Borders Group.

As with previous editions, the latest edition of this annual report offers data analysis from a number of highly respected sources, such as the Association of American Publishers (AAP), Simba's own "Book Publishing Report" newsletter, the monthly intelligence briefing on the state of the publishing industry, Simmons Market Research Bureau, Stuart Johnson & Associates, and R.R. Bowker's Books in Print. Qualitative and quantitative analysis from organizations in the industry's value chain provide a comprehensive overview of the trade book business.


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