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Modern Book Publishing: Websites for the Trade (August 2014): Publishing: Sales

By John Rodzvilla

Publishing: Sales

The third and final group of publishing professionals with specialized tool kits includes the marketing, publicity, and sales departments.  These professionals work toward increasing awareness of book titles and trying to ensure healthy sales for the author and publishing house.  Their focus is not only the general markets for books in the United States (bookstores, libraries, online retailers, big box retailers) but also special sales within companies and international sales of English-language titles.  This group includes subsidiary rights agents, who sell the rights for translation, audio, digital editions, and occasionally movie options.

The best tool on the health of the industry is the Nielsen Publishers Marketplace Bookscan service.  The service collects point-of-sale data on books on approximately 80 percent of all retail sales in the U.S. market.  The service is maintained by the Nielsen organization, which also provides metrics on music and television watching.  Access to the service can be had with a subscription through Publishers Marketplace.

BookStats, an online data project based on annual industry-wide surveys, provides detailed information on the net revenue and sales for several publishing categories, formats, and genres.  The original volume was released in 2011 and covered a two-year period, 2008 to 2010.  It remains a coproduction of the AAP and the BISG.

EDItEUR, an international group coordinating development of distribution standards, maintains the ONIX (Online Information Exchange) standard.  ONIX is used by publishers, bookstores, and distributors to manage book metadata.  The ONIX website provides instructions on using the ONIX formats for books, and subscription services.  It also provides help with the Edifact and EditX formats designed for reporting and fulfillment services.

For publishers who sell and license within the international marketplace, key resources include subscriptions to international papers; The World Factbook; and the Publishing Trends International website for monthly international best-seller lists and its annual “Literary Scouts Contact Sheet.”  The Who’s Scouting Whom: Literary Scouts Contact Sheet provides information on the select literary agents who scout for international publishers.  Another necessary resource on finding publishers throughout the world is the International Literary Marketplace.  This companion to Information Today’s Literary Marketplace is a print and online directory of publishers, agents, translators, and manufacturers in more than 180 countries.

The final tool that is essential in the day-to-day work flow is a good currency converter.  There are several free sites available, including OANDA Currency Converter, X-Rates, and Yahoo Finance Currency Converter.  These sites will provide real-time currency rates, as well as historical exchange rates.