Rising with the Tide

Book sales,  generally, are growing.
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by Andy Scheer

A rising tide lifts all ships. Some exceptional breakout books will always defy expectations by selling well in a slow market. But it sure helps if overall book sales are on the upswing.

So you may appreciate this recent industry news, which publishing veteran Terry Whalin offered to members of a writers group that includes Hartline agent Diana Flegal. I pass this along with Diana’s blessings. (Emphasis added.)

Because of my job as an acquisitions editor, I have access to Nielsen’s Bookscan and I get a newsletter every other month with statistics about book sales. Here’s some information on sales trends from this newsletter.

In the U.S.market, overall sales are growing through August and nonfiction leads over fiction. Nonfiction sales year to date grew 4% on last year with solid growth in craft/ hobbies and art, fueled by adult coloring books and biography.

Fiction saw a 3% gain compared to the same period in 2014, driven by several categories including classic, thrillers, graphic novels and biography.

Also they took a closer look at the Christian market saying “Religion has performed ahead of the overall market in the last few years….In the Christian market specifically, nonfiction leads the charge with Adult Nonfiction increasing at 11% and Juvenile Nonfiction at 18%.”

“Christian Adult fiction is declining at 12% while Juvenile Fiction is growing at 6% over the five-year period.”

If you don’t know, Nielsen has added Lifeway Christian stores and a number of other Christian bookstores in the last few years so their numbers are much more accurate than years ago–when they didn’t even add in the Christian bookstores–so people like Chuck Swindoll and Max Lucado had terrible bookscan numbers. Today all of that has improved and changed.

While the news may not be as encouraging as we’d all like, especially those writing Christian adult fiction, it’s nice to know the tide is rising. Even if yours will be the next breakout book, that can’t hurt.

About Andy Scheer

With more than 30 years in publishing, Andy Scheer has provided freelance editorial services since 2010. He has edited fiction and nonfiction for publishers including Moody, WinePress, and BelieversPress, as well as for clients including Dirk Cussler, McNair Wilson, DiAnn Mills, Heather Day Gilbert, and Sammy Tippit.
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