Innovative Publisher Thriving Amidst Shifting Industry
September 3, 2019 (CHICAGO) — Sourcebooks, the innovative Midwest-based entrepreneurial publisher and largest woman-owned book publisher in America, reported double-digit sales growth of 24% in the first half of 2019, according to NPD DecisionKey sales data through week 26 (Jan. 6, 2019–July 6, 2019). Started in a bedroom, Sourcebooks is now the 12th largest publisher in the country. This is the fifth consecutive double-digit, first-half sales growth year for the company.
Sourcebooks is thriving in an industry where first-half overall book sales were down 2.3%. The independent publisher’s data-driven, customer-centric model has delivered growth in 10 of its 12 business units, with six business units reporting more than 50% growth. Sourcebooks continues to expand its presence on the bestseller lists, with the YA debut This Is Where It Ends spending 72 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and the fiction sensation Sold on a Monday spending 19 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and 25 weeks on the USA Today bestseller list.
“What I’m most excited about is that it’s not just one book driving these results. We’re generating growth for a lot of our retail partners and authors across a tremendous number of categories,” said Dominique Raccah, Sourcebooks publisher and CEO. “We’ve been executing a unique publishing model for a long time now and are pleased that the market continues to prove its performance year after year.”
Organic growth was led by the Sourcebooks Kids program, which was created only 10 years ago and now encompasses five imprints, and accounts for more than 50% of overall sales. Top-selling titles in the kids category so far this year include Moon’s First Friends, which has sold nearly 50,000 copies since June; the viral sensation P Is for Pterodactyl, which broke 100,000 copies sold this year; Welcome Little One, the board book edition by beloved author Sandra Magsamen; and a new addition to the bestselling How to Catch series, How to Catch a Unicorn.
Sourcebooks has also seen tremendous growth (173%) in its Landmark fiction imprint led by more than 100,000 units in sales for Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris; strong front list sales for Marie Benedict’s new title, The Only Woman in the Room, which was January’s Barnes & Noble Book Club pick; a successful trade paper release of The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, a Target Book Club pick, which actor Neil Patrick Harris called one of his “favorite books” of the year on the TODAY show; and continued success for backlist titles, including The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure.
The independent bookstore channel is another major area of growth for Sourcebooks, with a 32% sales increase in the first half of the year. Sell-through in this channel has also been extraordinary, with Above the Treeline reporting a 40% increase over last year’s first half. As an independent publisher, Sourcebooks is passionate about supporting independent bookstores. Chuck Deane has joined Sourcebooks as director of sales – trade, and the Sourcebooks marketing team has grown in order to better serve this community.
As Todd Stocke, senior vice president and editorial director, points out: “We’ve created a model that delivers the best of both worlds—thriving traditional publishing programs coupled with genuinely disruptive and effective editorial development and marketing strategies. It’s producing real revenue for our retail partners and authors.”
Sales to schools and libraries also experienced double-digit growth, up 33% in the first half. Marie Benedict, author of The Only Woman in the Room, was named to the LibraryReads Hall of Fame, after having three books selected as LibraryReads picks. Sourcebooks’s first graphic novel, Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano, was named an ALA Notable Children’s Book and YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten pick. Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly has also been nominated for the Texas Bluebonnet Award by the Texas Library Association.
So what does Sourcebooks expect in the second half of 2019?
Sourcebooks Kids will also be publishing Survivors of the Holocaust, a Fall 2019 Kids’ Indie Next pick, which booksellers are calling “compelling,” “arresting,” and recognizing that it “will have wide-range appeal.” And new from Chris Ferrie, the #1 science author for kids, is There Was a Black Hole that Swallowed the Universe, an inventive picture book about the creation of the universe. Sourcebooks is also releasing a new edition of its bestselling Santa Is Coming regional series, which has sold more than 1 million copies, and will ship more than 1 million units of personalized picture books to retailers for holiday 2019.
“This year has been transformative for Sourcebooks,” Raccah said. “In addition to tremendous growth, we have added a great partner in Penguin Random House, the largest book publisher in the world, which acquired a minority stake in Sourcebooks in May.” Sourcebooks also added Poisoned Pen Press as its mystery imprint in January. The company is also proud to be the largest publisher in America’s Heartland. Raccah sits on the American Writers Museum board, and Sourcebooks recently launched a Books Change Lives cocktail party at the Chicago museum.
Sourcebooks is a thriving entrepreneurial company that brings extraordinary authors to readers in the most dynamic, data-driven ways. We create books that transcend categories and defy odds and have been honored with hundreds of national bestsellers and awards. We are home to enthusiastic, book-loving employees who are dedicated to connecting books to readers in new and innovative ways. Story by story, book by book, we have touched over 100 million lives. Join us as we change 100 million more.
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