Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Are the publishers waiting for the holiday?

The end of the month is a holiday weekend. Who would pay attention to book sales if the numbers were released around the long Memorial day weekend? What better way to hide poor sales?

I'm suspecting the AAP numbers are really bad. Normally the pattern is:

1. Good print book sales numbers are released early.
2. Even if the print (not-ebook) numbers are good, no earlier than the 8th.
3. If print sales are bad, it has been the 14th to the 17th of the month.

Note: Ebook sales do not influence when the numbers are released (as best I can tell).

Is this due to rumors that Borders might close significantly more stores? I'm not posting links to the company spamming the Yahoo boards with poor stories.

I'm just not seeing anything to push pbook sales. Sigh, I hope my favorite formate (MMPB) does better than I believe it will...

Got Popcorn?


  1. Hi Neil,

    I've been keeping an eye on this too, for obvious reasons, and the delay is surprising.

    Why would they hold them back? The big news was last month's figures. I could be wrong, but I don't think even a further increase in e-books market share will make as many headlines.

    I'm trying to understand the motivation in the delay. Maybe it's poor figures all round, and the drop in print isn't made up for by whatever increase their may be in e-books (last e-books pretty much covered it).

    Is there any precedent (aside from what you have outlined above)?


  2. Tricksie, they are! If they really are hiding the numbers behind holidays, that bodes incredibly ill...

    Meanwhile, self-pubbed authors continue to put out product and announce their numbers ;)

    YA: Cheat, Liar, Coward
    Adult: Shackled

  3. Dave,

    The reason I called it an observation is that I do not have enough data. I only started keeping track of the release date mid-2010.

    As J.E. notes, if they are hiding behind the holiday, it bodes ill.

    But I've noticed the AAP delays numbers on print, not ebooks. So total revenue could be great, but if print is poor, they delay the numbers.

    It will be interesting to see.

    I do think the numbers are shifting to indie/small publishers. A steady market share gain. My conservative estimate is ~22.5% of ebook *revenue* is indie/small pub. (It is probably much more, but I'd rather underestimate than over-estimate.)