Friday, May 30, 2008

2007 went well for book publishers but what's next?

It's BEA time now and the book publishing industry is on the news. Today the New York Times present interesting sales figures of the industry. The bottom line? 2007 was a good year to the industry but this is already the past. The future is uncertain.

The article ("Potter Was Still Magical, But Not All Books Rose") reports the following: "Publishers sold 3.13 billion books last year, compared with 3.1 billion in 2006, an increase of just 0.9 percent, according to Book Industry Trends 2008, an annual report that analyzes sales in the United States. Higher retail prices helped net revenue increase 4.4 percent, to $37.3 billion, from $35.7 billion."

Though this sounds like a good news, it seems that publishers are worried. It is of course because of the weak economy and the uncertainty it brings with it to business. The estimates for 2008 sales according to the Book Industry Trends Report are for a small decline of 0.7% in comparison with 2007. Growth projected to the next few years is either flat or less than 1%, which atcually is no different than 2007 figures (0.9% growth).

Is there a green angle here? I believe there is. I think and I intend to go into it more thoroughly in the next couple of weeks that publishers that will go green will be in a much better position than those who won't. I can see it in every level of the operations - strategically (becoming well-prepared to a carbon-regulated market), financially (achieving greater efficiency in every element of the operations), marketing wise (establishing differentiation from competitors, more positive media attention) and last but definitely not least - meeting growing customers' concerns on the environmental impacts of their life style and providing them a greener offer so many are looking for.

I hope many publishers will find the green route not as a luxury, but as a route that can help them go through a relatively weak economy and strengthen their business. As I mentioned we'll get into it in the next couple of weeks with more details about what does it actually means for publishers to go green, with some examples of publishers that already enjoy the fruits of their decision to go green.

Raz @ Eco-Libris