Publishers Facing a Difficult Fall Season

Linda McMaken
Cincinnati, OH

Fall is the season for book sales, as least it used to be as publishers geared up for the holiday’s. With the phenomenal growth of eBooks, publishers are facing a dilemma over the number of printed books they should make available.

According to Nielsen BookScan, print sales were down 10.2% in just the first half of this year, and the results of a recent Publishers Weekly survey of publishers found that they were making cuts in both hardcover and mass market paperback printings. The PW survey also noted, “four out of the ten publishers who provided hardcover data said they anticipate cutting first printings by over 20%.”

As the publishing industry transitions, they will have a difficult time figuring out these numbers. There are still a significant number of readers who want and prefer printed books, so publishers need to cater to these buyers, but they also want eBooks as part of their overall marketing strategy.

It appears the industry will be cutting back, but how much remains to be seen. These cuts however, could eliminate the publication of some mid-list authors in favor of more bankable authors. Authors and book retailers are still promoting print books, readers still want them, and while they aren’t going away completely, their days do seem to be numbered.


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