Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Is traditional publishing in trouble? Nope.‏

Here is some good news from writer/editor Sean McLachlan. This is from his post on the Fantasy Writer group...

There’s a lot of talk on writing newgroups that the traditional print industry is in freefall, soon to be tossed into the scrapheap of history and replaced by ebooks or no books at all. The facts say otherwise.
According to the Association of American Publishers, net sales for 2007 were $25 billion, up 3.2% from 2006. Not a bad showing for a recession year. Not only that, but the New York Times reported that in 2007 there were an astonishing 400,000 books published in the United States alone. Many of these are self-published books that hardly sell any copies, others are reprints of older works, but a great deal of them were new titles by reputable publishers. The development of affordable print-on-demand technology has led to a boom in small presses, and university presses are thriving too.
Ebooks had a net profit of $67 million in 2007, a growth of 24% over the previous year. But as a total of all book sales they constituted less than one third of one percent. There are a lot of smaller epublishers out there that aren’t counted in the statistics, but even if the figures are off by a factor of ten, which they’re not, I don’t think print publishers have anything to worry about.
So it seems that while Americans are reading less, dedicated readers are actually reading more. That’s the only way I can account for these figures. Traditional publishers are doing OK. Long live the traditional print book!
For more of my thoughts on this issue, and links to the data, go to


Sean McLachlan


Sean McLachlan said...

Thanks for reposting my post from the fantasy writer yahoo list, although in the future I would request that you ask my permission first. I'll be happy to give it. The URL you give isn't complete. The full URL is:

Or you can just go to if you're seeing this on or soon after May 8. It won't disappear off the front page for a few days.

all the best,

Sean McLachlan

Scott Bryan said...

I'm sorry Sean. Next time I'll ask first. I'm still learning group etiquette.