It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder
for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present.
And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg.
We must be hatched or go bad.
It is undeniable: we are at transformation. And I suspect that 2012 may well be the most important year in any of our professional lives and, quite possibly, in the history of the book.
With that in mind, I wanted to share some of our 2011 year-end results for Sourcebooks. While these data points are just for one publisher, we believe that they can help us better think about the year that we get to create in 2012. I hope that they help you as well. I’d love to hear other comments and ideas about year-end 2011, so feel free to discuss.
2011 was the best year in our history! We weren’t sure what to think about this year, but strong growth in the ebook, gift, and mass markets drove our overall increase.
Clearly 2011 was the year of the ebook. Our ebook sales were more than double the forecast (which we thought was aggressive). Our conversations with other publishers and the data we’ve seen suggest that we’re not alone.
Though many questioned the long-term viability of the printed book (p-book) going into 2011, impressive performance from our bookselling partners limited p-book decline. The exciting news is that several publishers grew their POS sales, and Sourcebooks was among those to show growth. With the right strategic focus, we believe that print books can remain strong.
What will 2012 look like? If the week of Christmas is any indication, decline of print book sales looks modest and increase in ebook sales looks incredibly strong. With a continued increase in devices comes even more opportunity to reach new readers and users with our authors’ books.
Could a shift in ebook market share be in our future? While retailer market share for our ebooks has remained relatively consistent throughout 2011, Barnes & Noble’s Nook steadily gained share in the fourth quarter and posted amazing growth during December and the week of Christmas.