Blogger: Rachel Kent
October marks the 7th anniversary of when I became an agent with Books & Such! When I first started, I’d go to conferences, and people would remark on how young I looked. I don’t hear that much anymore. Actually, during ICRS, I had a woman approach me, and the first thing she said was, “Rachel, you look so old!” Lol!
In all seriousness, I have really enjoyed the last seven years, and I’m looking forward to many more.
During these agenting years, the publishing industry weathered a major economic downturn and huge changes with the influx of digital publishing. When I first started as an agent, Kindle meant “to start a fire,” Kobo wasn’t a word in my vocabulary, and Nook meant…never mind. The first Kindle actually released on November 17, 2007–one month after I became an agent. The entire seven years I’ve been working as an agent, all of the talk has been about the big changes and the financial stresses.
Recent statistics have shown that despite all of the negativity we hear, publishing is actually doing well. I think we could all use a little encouragement, so I’d like to share them with you.
- According to BookStats 2014 the U. S. trade publishing industry has remained stable for the last five years (2009-2013) and has reported overall growth. The total revenue is up by more than $700,000.
- BookStats also reported that in 2009 eBooks were responsible for 2% of sales while in 2013 they were responsible for 21% of sales in U.S. trade publishing. Ebook use is growing, but print books are still the majority of sales in the U.S. Ebooks have likely bolstered the industry and encouraged the overall growth.
And people are still reading! Including young adults. From a recent library survey by PewResearch (full survey here):
- 88% of Americans under 30 read a book in the past year
- 79% of those age 30 and older read a book in the past year
- 43% of younger Americans reported reading a book–in any format–on a daily basis. A rate similar to that of older adults.
- Adult nonfiction was the fastest-growing category for 2013–surpassing YA nonfiction. (BookStats 2014)
I hope you are encouraged by these statistics, too!
Do you have anything positive to report about the publishing industry?
How many books did you read last year?