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Not Dead Yet

I just read yet another blog post about how book sales are tanking, fewer people are reading, every business except Amazon is set to fail, and all of publishing shall implode.

The Association of American Publishers must then be lying to us all, putting forth false numbers showing growth in print and ebooks.  While the Borders returns account for some of the print growth, it doesn't account for ALL of it.  (See American Booksellers Association below.)

The Book Industry Study Group must be in on it as well.  Their Book Stats 2011 report found growth in print and ebook sales, too.

From Digital Book World: "Children’s e-book revenue grew the most in terms of percent growth, up 475.1% to $22.6 million from $3.9 million, but adult trade e-books were up the most in real dollars to $99.5 million versus $66.6 million. The adult trade e-book business is now on track to reach nearly $1.2 billion in 2012."

And how about those independent bookstores, the ones that are supposed to be wasting away?  The American Booksellers Association says, "...member in-store book sales as tracked by Nielsen Bookscan for Thanksgiving week--which includes Black Friday and culminated in Small Business Saturday--increased 15.5% over the same week in 2010.  Online sales in ABA member websites during that week increased 60% over a year ago."

More people are reading.  Not fewer.  More books are being purchased.  Not just read (because then someone will scream I must be included pirated copies!).  More books are being purchased.  Sales are up. 

The only businesses that implode when profits are growing are businesses that are grossly mismanaged, unable to adapt to growth, or afraid of what growth might mean.

If anyone has data--not rumor or opinion or impressions, but hard data--that refutes these professional organizations, I'd love to see it.  Until then, I'm just going to skim over any "news" about the demise of books, reading, bookstores, publishing, and the future of writing professionally.

And now I'm heading out to run my karate classes--the ones that were never going to succeed because I'm a female martial arts instructor in a rural town who started her business during the depths of the recession, and charges more than anyone else in town as well.

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the "We're DOOOOOOOOMED!" school of thought these days.  Been there, done that, watched who adapted and who didn't, learned a bunch.


Blair MacGregor

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May 2017


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