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Tracking book sales

Got a question/comment about the business of writing or about the publishing industry? Here's your place to post it!
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cw gortner
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Location: San Francisco,CA
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Postby cw gortner » Thu August 6th, 2009, 11:10 pm

"Margaret" wrote:I have to think this is a big part of it, especially since a lot of HF readers are not as enthusiastic about her as they are about other authors. I give her quite a bit of credit for helping to expand the market for historical fiction in general.


It's what several of my other writer friends think, too. PG has broken out of the genre and is appealing to a much broader audience, encompassing readers who don't read hf as a rule and therefore don't have the same expectations. That said, she has definitely expanded the market for hf, as well. Without her success, the genre was considered in serious decline.

It's astonishing what a single author can do. I look at the whole Stephanie Meyer phenomenon, as well, and it's incredible. Reports are she has single-handedly kept Little, Brown in the black. Of course every writer dreams of that kind of success - even those that say they don't, I suspect :) - but to see it "live" is something, indeed. The mere fact that one writer has kept an entire company solvent is a stunning prospect.

In the end, it of course demonstrates that people still buy books. I'm a little more concerned, however, about how it could affect less successful authors; the more these few big names pull in, both in terms of sales and advances, the less there is left for authors whose audiences build more slowly. Launching new authors will also undoubtedly be affected, as the risks become exponentially greater.
THE QUEEN'S VOW available on June 12, 2012!
THE TUDOR SECRET, Book I in the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles
[B]THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI
THE LAST QUEEN
[/B]

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cw gortner
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Location: San Francisco,CA
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Postby cw gortner » Thu August 6th, 2009, 11:29 pm

Completely off topic as far as WQ goes but very amusing, and insightful, as far as Bookscan conversation. It's dated but still quite revelant:

http://www.nplusonemag.com/money
THE QUEEN'S VOW available on June 12, 2012!

THE TUDOR SECRET, Book I in the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles
[B]THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI
THE LAST QUEEN
[/B]



www.cwgortner.com

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Veronica
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Location: NT, Australia

Postby Veronica » Thu August 6th, 2009, 11:29 pm

I wonder how they count the booksales? Do they count how many books the shop has bought or do they count how many that actually gets sold after that??
[SIZE="3"]"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted"[/SIZE]

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cw gortner
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Location: San Francisco,CA
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Postby cw gortner » Thu August 6th, 2009, 11:37 pm

"Veronica" wrote:I wonder how they count the booksales? Do they count how many books the shop has bought or do they count how many that actually gets sold after that??


It's how many are sold, as scanned through the check-out register via the barcode. If a store doesn't report to Bookscan, then those sales aren't included. For example, novelty shops that include books as part of their overall product assortment usually aren't connected to Bookscan, so if a book sells primarily through those channels then its Bookscan numbers will indicate lower sales. But industry insiders say that for most novels, Bookscan is about 80% to 98% accurate. I also just found out that Costco and Target do report to Bookscan.

Another number that publishers report is number of copies shipped. This can be a misleading number for most beginning authors (I was misled by it, at first!) because it is the number of copies ordered by various accounts and sent out. But, some of these, or in worst cases most of them, can be returned. Which is why publishers hold a reserve against returns.

"Sell-through" is a term I've heard bantered about but it took me a while to figure it out; I think it means, the number of books that sold as compared to the number shipped. It's usually reported as a percentage. Ideally, a book should have a 70% - 80% sell through, after accounting for all returns. In this economy, a 60% sell through on a debut novel is pretty decent. Or so, I'm told.
Last edited by cw gortner on Thu August 6th, 2009, 11:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.
THE QUEEN'S VOW available on June 12, 2012!

THE TUDOR SECRET, Book I in the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles
[B]THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI
THE LAST QUEEN
[/B]



www.cwgortner.com


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