Posts Tagged ‘publishing trends’

The Next Big Colouring Book Trend

I looked at this forthcoming Harvest House title twice and couldn’t help but think, “What if all the women doing colouring books are getting bored and are ripe for the next big thing?”

I just think some might be tired of butterflies and stained glass windows and want to channel their inner Andy Warhol into a Campbell’s Soup can or something more resembling commercial art? Or perhaps break away from the pastels and rock out some primary colours?

Harvest House says this is for ages 8-12. I’d have to order one and check out the contents and also see if the paper stock is up to adult colouring book standards.

But I think I’m on to something here. Or crazy; which we already knew. I’m sure someone has a reason why this won’t work, but maybe someone else will get the idea and run with it.

80 pages | 9780736971034 | Harvest House | September release | $9.99

Category Killer Claims Another Victim

December 11, 2012 1 comment

We really should have a funeral service every time a Christian bookstore dies. Whether it’s due to the monster named A-zon or simply a factor of changing technology, a loss to a community of a Christian bookstore is a significant loss of marketplace ministry presence, even when it takes place an ocean away from us.

…At the end of the story, there’s a link to this story, which contains this in the final paragraph:

[Amazon] has sparked outrage because despite having warehouses in the UK and employing 15,000 people, it drives all of its sales through Luxembourg. According to conservative MP Charlie Elphicke, last year Amazon’s UK sales amounted to £3.9 billion but the company paid just £1.9 million in tax – the equivalent of just 2.5% of its estimated profits, based on its global operating margin.

Next Generation Prefer Print Textbooks to e-Texts

A story last Tuesday in USAToday by Yasmeen Abutaleb confirms what some of us have know for some time, some people just prefer print books. But this story is shocking in that the ‘people’ in question are university students, a segment of society that doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on a book that won’t get used when the semester ends.

They would rather have print, especially when they end up printing out some or all of the eBooks anyway, so the universities now force them to take the electronic editions.  Here’s part of the story:

“How excited can you expect to get about an e-textbook?” Student Monitor President Eric Weil says. “It’s not a fashion statement, it’s not a status symbol; it has to overcome the advantages that students see (in) a printed textbook.”

Typically, students don’t save much when opting to buy an e-textbook. For example, an organic chemistry e-textbook costs about $100, while the print version of the same book costs just $15 more.

For University of Wisconsin senior Leslie Epstein, having to buy an e-textbook only added to her expenses. She still found herself printing a copy of her textbooks in the two classes that required an electronic version, and said despite the lower price tag of an e-textbook, she’d buy the print version of the text “every time.”

“I see what (universities) are doing to make textbooks cheaper and less paper-reliant, but I don’t think it’ll work in the long run,” she says.

But universities are looking to combat that mindset with programs that urge — or force — students to adapt to the trend.

read the whole article at USAToday

While the textbook market is quite different from the trade book environment in which most of us operate, the reaction of students here is significant; especially when you consider that this is a generation that is normally conditioned to get information content from screens.

One Third of British Children Don’t Own a Book

This disturbing news was reported Monday in the Daily Mail:

Almost four million children in the UK do not own a book, research suggests.

It raises concerns that the number of children growing up without books is rising, with poorer youngsters more likely to miss out.

The latest report by the National Literacy Trust, based on a survey of 18,000 youngsters, reveals a third – 3.8million – do not have books of their own.

And the number has increased from seven years ago, the last time the poll was conducted, when it stood at one in ten.

Today’s report also reveals boys are more likely to be without books than girls, and children eligible for free school meals – a measure of poverty – are more likely to not own a book.

The findings, not unsurprisingly,  show children who do own books are more likely to enjoy reading, read more books and read more frequently.

All the more reason to make sure books for children are included in this season’s purchases.

Electronic Books: An Alternative Scenario

Started the week with an early morning unscheduled visit with Bob Woods at Foundation Distributing.  As we discussed the current crisis in publishing an entirely fresh vision of the future unfolded before me…

In this future, electronic readers, currently accounting for up to 15% of some categories grows to 15% across the board by year end, and then inches up to 20% in 2012 and 25% in 2013.

And there it peaks.

And then, in 2014, at the latest, it starts falling.

I say all this based on the way our industry has ‘survived’ (sort of) other technological invasions into our product landscape.  E-cards were to replace standard greeting cards.  Received one lately?  Apparently people prefer licking stamps and envelopes and sending snail mail.  Downloading of virtual CDs was to replace sales of physical music CDs, and while the industry has taken a major hit, CDs do keep selling them and when you factor in the huge growth in the indie market, there are probably more CDs being bought and sold today than SoundScan will ever know. 

Our giftware departments are testimony to the fact that some things can’t be replicated digitally, even as scientists are reverse-engineering all manner of products so that computers, instead of being told to ‘print,’ will be told to ‘render.’  But it will never fully succeed.

I’m already aware of complaints of headaches, of battery-life issues, and of church parishioners — like this one — wishing the pastor would simply close the iPad and speak from printed text. 

So, if you can last that long,  I see the present trend continuing for another 24 months.

And then the pendulum starts to swing back.

If You Were Starting a New Publishing Company…

Thanks to Brian for sending me this article.

The writer describes seven current publishing avenues, but notes that print books still control at least 85% of the present market.

There’s also a link to a Reuters story about a New York publisher who is dropping print.

This kind of discussion is vital to people who want to keep abreast of current trends.

# # #


Last week I was talking with a customer about the time I purchased a VCR for my parents as an anniversary gift.  (A gift I used myself frequently while living in their home!)  I paid $648 for it on sale (dating myself!) and it literally lasted forever.

The discussion was about the surplus VHS inventory I’m displaying this week in a vain attempt to move some of it out of my stockroom.  I explained to the customer that when DVD players became almost instantly available at $29.99 it was the end of VHS as we knew it.  (Bet your wedding movies are all on VHS, though, right?)

The threat to book publishing isn’t the available ‘software,’ but rather the consequences of what happens when the ‘hardware’ or ‘devices’ are so very cheap, or even given away.

But I’m encouraged that this article still pegs print in the 85% range.

My Hometown Bookstore Faces Closure

January 30, 2011 2 comments

I sent this letter to the editor of one of our two local newspapers yesterday, upon reading that an iconic downtown bookstore in our little tourist town is facing closure.

As another local bookstore owner, I feel [owner] Bill Edwards’ pain. I just hope he’s not giving his (former) customers too much credit in suggesting the major issue facing brick and mortar booksellers is the switch to e-book readers.  Frankly, I would be pleased if that were the only factor.

My view is that people simply are not reading. Both leisure time and leisure time spending is now consumed entirely with other media.

Think about it.  Several decades ago the water cooler topic of the day shifted from the latest book to the latest film  Movie characters and plots are now the reference points for office conversation.  Publishing is part of the broader entertainment industry, but discretionary spending begins each month with the satellite or cable company as well as the internet service provider; costs we didn’t have in times past.  Even e-mail is in decline as people switch to the shorter formats of 420-character Facebook status updates and 140-character tweets.  Spelling and syntax are being lost to a generation being raised on text-speech and increasingly teachers aren’t bothering to circle the abbreviations as errors; a trend definitely not something to be LOL about.

As we examine the prospects for our own business, I am increasingly gravitating toward as greater cause:  I find myself more interested in promoting reading than I am in promoting my store. While books are not yet an endangered species, and while economists expect the tide to go out again on the Canadian dollar, bringing customers back to supporting local stores; I feel we should be addressing a larger problem.

Literacy, in my view consists not in just knowing how to read; it consists in being a reader.

Paul Wilkinson.

Broader Publishing Industry “Borrows” Devotional Description

January 20, 2011 1 comment

It happened yesterday.

We were in Indigo in Toronto, a Canadian big box bookstore equivalent to Barnes & Noble.  My wife picked up a book because the word “devotional” caught her eye.  But it was not a religious book at all, rather it was The Bibliophile’s Devotional: 365 Days of Literary Classics, published by Adams Media in 2009.  A one-off use of the term normally applied to Christian books, right?  A term derived from its application to something that we do — studying God’s Word; meditation on God’s Word — out of devotion to God.

Dictionary.Com offers this:




1. characterized by devotion.
2. used in devotions: devotional prayers.



3. Often, devotionals. a short religious service.

But then, a few shelves over was The Crafter’s Devotional: 365 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Unlocking Your Creative Spirit.  Using the key words “devotions” or “devotional” along with the keyword “365” on a title search at Ingram is likely to turn up all sorts of things, including The Wine Lover’s Devotional: 365 Days of Knowledge, Advice, and Lore for the Ardent Aficionado, a title I can be fairly sure is not sold at Lifeway, or at least not without a warning sticker.

My gut reaction was, “Hey, they stole our word.”  Yes, our word.

But just a few titles over was The Woodworker’s Technique Bible: The Essential Illustrated Reference.  My wife was willing to forgive that one, since that use of “bible” has been around for generations.

But apparently, the word “devotional” now has a broader meaning.  I’m not sure if etymologists would call this pejoration or whether some other word best describes what’s taken place here.

~ Paul Wilkinson