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Flood of New Books Coming Out

30 September 2013

From The Wall Street Journal:

Book publishers are expected to release a torrent of major new titles this week, giving the business a much-needed jolt ahead of the holiday season.

It’s an industry looking for answers as Barnes & Noble Inc. struggles with declining sales at its key consumer-store group. And on the digital front, publishers are still finding their footing at a time when e-books compete for would-be readers’ attention against a range of other entertainment options.

. . . .

[T]he physical book business remains meaningful. “Publishers still believe in print,” said Jim Milliot, co-editorial director at Publishers Weekly.

Publishers are also counting on independent booksellers, some of which continue to benefit two years after the liquidation of Borders Group Inc., once the second-largest bookstore chain in the U.S.

. . . .

Publishers continue to aggressively market e-books. Devices like Amazon.com Inc.’s coming Kindle Fire HDX and other tablets are making it easy for consumers to buy tiles, but the same devices also offer consumers a range of other tempting entertainment choices. “Publishing is competing with everything, from cable to Netflix, and there is a fear that the pie is getting sliced ever thinner,” said Lorraine Shanley, president of publishing-industry consultants Market Partners International Inc.

The first half of the year was relatively soft for the book business as the industry struggled to generate blockbuster must-read titles. Publisher net digital book sales actually fell 4.8% to $766.8 million for the first six months ended June 30, according to the Association of American Publishers, in part because recent titles were unable to match the previously published “Hunger Games” and “Fifty Shades” trilogies.

Publisher net sales of physical books also declined during the first six months of 2013, with hardcover and paperback editions of adult fiction and nonfiction, along with children’s and religious titles, dropping 7.4% to roughly $2.14 billion compared with the first half of 2012, according to the trade group.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)

Big Publishing, Bookstores

30 Comments to “Flood of New Books Coming Out”

  1. “Book publishers are expected to release a torrent of major new titles this week, giving the business a much-needed jolt ahead of the holiday season.”

    Wait a minute. I thought Amazon destroyed the ‘book’ industry by releasing a torrent of new titles.


    • “Book publishers are throwing more spaghetti at the wall this week praying that the business gets a another Fifty Shades ahead of the holiday season ”

      There, fixed it.

  2. Leave it to me to pick the one week of the year to debut my novel when the whole rest of the world is ALSO publishing. Ah well, it’s always been a dog-eat-dog, sink or swim business.

    • If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the world of internet marketing (I’ve created and released a few info-products over the last several years), it’s that it doesn’t matter who is releasing at the same time you are, nor does it matter how many others are releasing at the same time.

      In fact, it can help you.

      More releases=more people looking at/for new books, which ups the chance of someone finding yours.

      Grin, write and sell. 😉

      (And good luck!)

    • I’m in the same situation, Kat. It’s not my debut novel, but I do have a book coming out tomorrow.

      Fingers crossed for us both.

    • I just released a book yesterday. I never even think about who is releasing what where and when. I just put ’em out there. I think it will be okay, Kat. I agree with B. David – the more books, the more people looking at books.

    • I had one released yesterday, and another a few weeks ago. Hopefully the more books does = the more people looking. Fingers crossed 🙂

    • New story here, too! That is, I uploaded the files today. So the story will be live on Amazon this evening, and everywhere else a few days later. 😉

    • Howzum about this indie flood o’ books?! 😀

    • Try seeing your book released a few months before Borders imploded.


  3. Elizabeth “Eat, Pray, Love” Gilbert’s novel is out tomorrow and boy, is the NY Times salivating for it. Yesterday, a rave from Barbara Kingsolver on Page 1 of the Sunday Book Review. Today, a rave from Janet Maslin on Page 1 of Arts & Leisure.

    Of course, such a concerted promotional effort on the part of the NYT is purely a reflection of its literary and artistic sensibility. The commercial interests of Tradpub and Randy Penguin have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

    Addendum: my wife disagrees that Kingsolver’s review was a rave. I understand her point. It’s the metamessage I’m talking about.

  4. Who are they kidding with the industry struggled to generate blockbuster must-read titles.

    It seems like Amazon is having more luck generating must-read titles. They still don’t get it.

  5. [T]he physical book business remains meaningful. “Publishers still believe in print,” said Jim Milliot, co-editorial director at Publishers Weekly.

    Of course they do. They engage in magical thinking all the time.

  6. Choose wisely. Hundreds of tons of paper are awfully expensive to ship…twice. And then store. And then pulp.

    Lol, what am I saying! That’s what the high interest earning discretionary fund of unpaid author royalties is for.

    Print and ship like there’s no tomorrow!

  7. I think meg-blockbusters will become rarer and rarer, as time goes on. Just as the huge TV audiences of the 70’s are long gone, due to cable and other diversions, the mega-blockbuster novel will wither away, due to the plethora of choice available in reading material (that includes independent publishing).

    • Brilliant answer. I think you’ve nailed the real question.

    • Well, you are partly correct. Take a look at the ratings for the Super Bowl. The huge TV audience for it hasn’t disappeared. It is a once-a-year mega blockbuster for TV. This is a clue for what to expect in books.

      The future of publishing will look like this. Every year or two there will be a new series mega blockbuster (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, 50 Shades). The authors of these series are unlikely to repeat their success, at least at that level. The success of these mega blockbusters will come at the expense of the Pattersons, Kings, and Grishams of the world.

      More authors than ever will be able to make a living and more people will read more stories than ever before, but the math of network graphs ensures that there will be mega blockbusters. Especially as the ability to reach mass audiences becomes easier and easier.

      • Interesting, William. So far, yes. Makes me wonder where mainstream pubs will find the next big book. I suspect it might continue to be by making the occasional top-selling indie author an offer he or she can’t refuse.

      • It is also possible that the odd mega blockbuster that does arise will be an independent. And those writers will tend to be less starstruck in the future as far as signing with big publishing houses is concerned, so the blockbusters that do arise may not help the big publishing business model. It just won’t be part of their early life socialization – the dream of seeing their name on a big publisher’s hardcover just won’t mean as much as it does now.

        • “Every year or two there will be a new series mega blockbuster (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, 50 Shades).”

          And that’s an important point. Cynics can mock sparkly vampires, teen romance and fanfic/mommy porn to their hearts content but if it translates to billions a year for BigPub then they’re winners. Ultimately, when it comes to Bigpub longevity, it doesn’t matter what we say nor does it matter how many newbs and abandoned mid-listers push the KDP button.

          Spielberg and Lucas have predicted the fall of the blockbuster system due to the ROI economics which has been correlated many times to the BigPub blockbuster system. They could very well be right (how can anyone argue against those two) But all I see are more tentpole movies on the way and more YA/NA titles being packaged as the next big thing.

          Looks like “Mortal Instruments” is next on deck for the movie & mega sales treatment and in two years it will be something else.

          • The real question becomes when does the next megaseries skip Big Pub? “50 Shades” needed the dead tree distribution network of Big Pub to reach maximum potential, but that won’t be true forever.

            What if the next big thing comes from an Amazon imprint? That’s a highly plausible scenario. Then, the principles of all those bookstore owners are going to be sorely tested. Do they risk all their customers going to Amazon to get the book and maybe never coming back to their store? If there is anyone sane left at B&N, you can bet they will selling that book in every store and on the front page of bn.com.

            What if Amazon decides to keep the title(s) away from their competition and distribute through, say, Starbucks? That’s the real nightmare scenario for Big Pub. Amazon cutting a deal with a non-traditional book retailer who doesn’t need the return system.

  8. “The real question becomes when does the next megaseries skip Big Pub?”

    That’s the real imperitive. And the thing that should be keeping publishers up at night. That they won’t get the next big thing.

    And the 5 big things that follow.

    That’s when the foundation will start to crack.

    I think it’s only a matter of time until the Cyber-Rowling reveals herself to us with a breakout hit that equals BPH mega-sales, all indie if not through Zon and their promo. A title/series that sells so well and blows up so big print retailers will be throwing money away by picking up the Createspace edition.

    I’m convinced BPH’s don’t care about the indie sales of the newbs they’ve rejected and the mid-listers they’ve dropped, not when the thorougbred stable is full, new hits keep occuring and they benefit from digital as much as anyone.

    But when future juggernaut properties evade them completely? That’s when it will hurt.

    • If (when) that happens, then the sky would really be falling. For the BigPub that is. It would be so awesome.

  9. I wonder if Trad Pubs are concerned about this, since they no longer regulate the flow of books, and hence a flood?

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