Thursday News: Nielsen Year-End Review, taking the long view, and creepy wedding photo
2015 U.S. BOOK INDUSTRY YEAR-END REVIEW – So the narrative about paper books making a comeback continues with the 2015 Nielsen industry numbers. Print grew by almost 3% and digital dropped by 3%, thus PAPER IS WINNING, SUCKERS. Or so traditional publishers are hoping beyond hope. Of course, when it comes to Romance and thrillers, digital dominates, and the recent Romance results also buck the trend reported here that most digital readers are using their phones. Romance readers, by contrast, prefer a tablet or e-reader to their smartphone (perhaps because they tend to be more robust in their reading?).
In looking at category trends, non-fiction was the highlight of 2015, with 12% growth in children’s non-fiction and 7% growth in adult non-fiction. On the fiction front, the big gainers were science fiction (44%), classics (32%) and graphic novels (22%). Adult coloring books also had a breakout year, with an estimated 12 million copies sold in 2015, compared with 1 million in 2014. – Nielsen
Chuck Klosterman: Don’t Buy My Book – Despite the kind of awkward beginning paragraphs, the actual interview with Klosterman is kind of interesting, because he’s both talking about the future, but also demonstrating how difficult it is to really be able to predict the future, despite our fixation with finding the right data to do just that. As if it exists.
Amazon now releases data about reading behavior. Would you ever tailor a future book in response to that kind of data?
No. The reality is, you can ask people what they want, but nobody knows what they want until they get it, and any attempt to beat people to the punch of their own desires is going to make things awkward for both you and them. It’s so hard to sell books. You can’t go into it thinking, “What’s the best way to sell a lot of books?” If there was some kind of formula for writing a successful book, everyone would do at least one book like that.
It seems Danielle Steele figured it out. You note she’s on pace to sell a billion books in her lifetime.
The main thing that makes something popular is its preexisting popularity. It’s not the content. Steele is an incredibly copied writer. There are more books that seem like knockoff Danielle Steele books than anyone else, yet they don’t succeed. Stephen King at one point in his career put out books under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. Part of the reason was to see how much his name alone was selling these things, and I think he was a little bummed out to find out what an impact it had. – Fast Company
Bride’s Favorite Wedding Photo Is Actually Terrifying – It’s probably just someone who snuck up behind them when they were taking the photo, but the couple had no idea it was happening, and the image is kind of haunting. – Refinery29