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What Do You Know About the Book Industry?

Aug 31, 2007
Next time you find yourself in the local bookstore, think about the book industry! This field is composed of not only writers and publishers, but also a whole array of people that work together.

The process of producing a book begins with a writer. However, it is a long road from an author's pen to a reader's eyes. After writing the manuscript for a book, the writer must sit down with an editorial and production staff in order to plan production of the book. During this phase ideas for illustrations, cover design, font, paper, binding, trim sizes and other physical factors are brainstormed. A designer then takes these ideas and puts them into a visual presentation for the production and editorial team to assess.

The only person to remain with the writer through the entire book production process is the project manager, who is responsible for making sure all goes well from manuscript to finished project. It is the project manager who checks over the final manuscript for errors and legibility before passing it off to copyeditors. The project manager must also log all chapters and illustrations during the process.

After close inspection for any further grammatical or style errors by a copyeditor, the final manuscript is sent to another source for the typesetting and page make-up. From here many proofs of the final book are created. It is difficult for the author to edit any of the book's content after this point. Once a final proof is agreed upon, the book is set to be bound and distributed.

The process of producing a book is long, taking up to a year to finish. In the end, the high price of some books results from this long process. In general, the price of a book is a factor of costs, with trade discounts getting the largest share of 55%. Manufacturing costs alone account for 15% of a book's price.

However, this procedure does not stall the book industry as millions of books are printed and distributed each year. According to the Association of American Publishes, the book industry brought in $34.59 billion in 2005, a 21 (or $5.9 billion dollar) percent increase from the $28.6 billion brought in one year earlier.

Also in 2005, book sales jumped 3.8% from the previous year, or about 3.1 billion books. This number came from the Book Industry Study Group's (BISG) yearly report on the book industry, TRENDS.

TRENDS 2006 differed from previous reports in that this time smaller publishers were added and two categories created: those who earned over $50 million and those who earned less. These small publishers combined to add more than $11 billion to the total sales of books in 2005.

Over the last few years, the categories with the most growth in the book industry were elementary and high school textbooks (up 16%), juvenile (up 20%), humanities and social sciences (up 10%) and religious books (up 8%). Adult trade books also increase by 4%, but over the coming years this group is expected to decline in sales. Similarly, the growth in juvenile books bought is also said to decrease due to the lack of new additions to the Harry Potter series after this year!

By 2010, TRENDS predicts the book industry will gross $40 billion dollars, with religious and professional publishing showing large increases.

It looks as thought the book industry will continue to increase in production and revenue over the coming eyars, but there there is competition. Recent studies show surprising growth in the audio book industry, giving print books a run for their money.
About the Author
Charlotte Buelow is a contributing business writer for Goliath. Goliath is one of the Internet's largest collections of business research, news and information. Learn more about
Goliath .
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