Signs

Mary Keeley

Blogger: Mary Keeley

With the promise of hope that a new year holds, I start pretty quickly to look for signs that my hopes have grounding. Happily, there are several already. The genre news won’t make every author’s hopes soar in the short term. After all, genre trends have always been cyclical. But the news does confirm the consistency of the cyclical nature. This means your genre’s turn will come, if not right now. Other signs are also hopeful. Are you ready for a dose of optimism today?

Cyclical Signs

Case in point. For a number of years, proposals for children’s books have been a hard sell in CBA. Production costs were too high and sales projections were too low. However, children’s books have been trending highest sales increases in Signs2the general market for the last two to three years. I can only guess this why two publishers announced this month their plans to reinvigorate their children’s lines. One was a CBA publisher. Another CBA publisher recently beefed up its children’s line with additional staff and a larger vision during a corporate restructure. This is a hopeful sign for Christian children’s authors.

Data Signs

But the cycle isn’t the only optimistic sign. Two weeks ago Pubishersweekly.com published an article by executive editor Jonathan Segura about end-of-year sales data. He reported that print book sales rose 3.3% in 2016. That’s a rise over the previous year for the third year in a row. Let’s analyze this because it’s significant.

First, it isn’t an anomaly. After three consecutive years, it’s trending. Readers are returning to the traditional way of reading. Reading electronically will always have its place, but increasing numbers of readers are going back to print books for pleasure reading and for study. This raises my hope level because the eternal optimist in me dreams of independent bookstores opening up again to meet the resurgent demand for tangible books. Amazon needs healthy competition to keep it from becoming a book-buying monopoly. And to keep prices down for readers. Amazon executives obviously see the trend or they wouldn’t be adding more brick and mortar stores. Is this another sign? Maybe. Hopefully.

A commenter of the online article added that over half of the overall 3.3% increase in print book sales came from Family Christian Stores sales, which Nielsen added in 2016. A sizable contribution and a hopeful sign for Christian publishers and authors if the information is accurate.

Adult nonfiction book sales were up 6.9% for the fourth consecutive year. However, Segura reported that, with the exception of comics and graphic novels, all adult fiction categories ended year 2016 at 1.04% lower than in 2015. But there were no blockbuster novels released in 2016, so another way to view the data is that total adult fiction sales only went down by that percentage. Read the entire article here to view a table of yearly print book sales figures from 2013 to 2016.

Seize the optimism and remember God has this. He will always provide a means for his message to get out. Our part is to watch for the signs.

 

What is your reaction to this data? What encouraging sign have you seen or heard about recently?

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