Recently, The Bookseller reported that print sales are recovering. Here, Course Leader Dr Leah Tether gives her opinion on this, and how it affects the MA Publishing students as our first ‘newsflash’ of the year.
Each week, the MA Publishing selects a student to deliver and comment on a short newsflash based on a recent publishing story. As the new academic year kicks off this week, Leah leads the way!
“Buoyant” and “optimistic” are the words being used by The Bookseller to describe global publishers and booksellers following the release of Nielsen Bookscan’s market data for the first 36 weeks of 2014. Spikes of between 2-3% in volume and/or value sales have occurred in all but one of the six international territories (Australia, India, Ireland, South Africa, USA, Italy) for which Bookscan can compare full market data.
The major driving force behind this seems to have been a surge in print sales thanks to a particularly strong children’s sector. The only territory currently struggling seems to be Italy, but experts suggest that this may be due to the fact that the Italian book market is undergoing a ‘deep transformation’.
Australia’s print sales seem to have made a particularly good recovery, following several years of ‘freefall’, where the children’s books growth area has been a major determining factor in success. Authors such as Veronica Roth and John Green have nine of the top 20 titles in the Australian children’s chart, for example. Meanwhile Australia’s non-fiction market has been boosted by healthy-living author Sarah Wilson’s globally-popular titles.
Given that print sales are at the root of these growth figures, our MA Publishing course must ensure to consider the balance between print and digital as it moves forward into the new academic year 2014/15. So much focus is given to the future being digital, but these figures go to prove that print has not yet had its day, and continues to carve out a crucial place for itself in the global book market.
Original article: Tom Tivnan, ‘Global markets on the up as print sales recover’, The Bookseller, 19 September 2014, pp. 4-5 (accessible online)