Monday, October 08, 2007

Survey of Book Industry Professionals

The Frankfurt Book Fair is scheduled to take place this week from the 10th to the 14th.

The organizers of the Book Fair recently conducted a survey of book industry professionals, including publishers, agents, retailers and librarians from around the world. The survey was intended to "identify the challenges and threats facing the industry, and to predict emerging trends and areas of growth."

Over 1,300 people responded from 86 countries. The survey organizers reported that almost half of the respondents were at the level of a CEO, director or senior staff.

The breakdown of those 1,300 individuals by profession were:

*** Editorial (20 per cent)
*** Marketing and PR (13 per cent)
*** Rights Management (10 per cent)
*** Sales (9 per cent)
*** Booksellers (8 per cent)
*** Literary Agents (5 per cent)
*** Librarians (4 per cent)
*** Scouts (1 per cent)

I did note that this leaves 30% of the respondents unaccounted for by profession.

Here are the answers to some of the questions I found most interesting:

What is the most important challenge currently facing the book industry? (Some respondents chose more than one answer)

• Digitisation 53%
• Globalisation 24%
• User-generated content 22%
• Rights issues, eg European Exclusivity 15%

Which is the biggest threat to the publishing industry today? (Some respondents chose more than one answer)

• Competition from other media and sources of entertainment 50%
• Over-publishing 31%
• Piracy 23%
• Literacy levels 17%
• Conglomeration 15%
• Censorship 7%

Who is currently driving the industry? (Some respondents chose more than one answer)

• Publishers 37%
• Marketeers 31%
• Customers 22%
• Retailers 20%
• Agents 11%
• Authors 8%

Which of the following do you see as a major area of growth in coming years?(Some respondents chose more than one answer)

• E-books 44%
• Audiobooks 41%
• Educational publishing 27%
• Books in translation 27%
• Graphic novels and comics 18%
• Children’s literature 17%
• Commercial fiction 15%
• Literary fiction 10%
• Biography 8%
• Poetry 3%

In looking at the survey, I suspect it may have a Euro-centric slant, which makes sense for an event held in Germany. There was a question asking which market would dominate the coming decade. The top three answers were Europe (36%), North American (32%), and China (29%).

If you're interested in the entire survey, go here.

Thanks to Publishers Marketplace for directing me to the survey.

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