Community Reading Event Report Update

Last November we published our Community Reading Event Impact Report which presented our findings on the impact of the April 2018 Big Library Reads event on the sales of first-time author Jennifer McGaha’s Flat Broke with Two Goats (Sourcebooks, 2018). The report tracked sales of the book from its publication in January through May 2018. This post provides additional insight on the impact of the campaign over the remainder of 2018. The update is based on sales and marketing data generously provided by Sourcebooks.

While print and ebook sales declined following the community reading event in early April and Sourcebooks’ social media campaign in late April/early May, the publisher reported that the rate of decline was slower than usual for similar titles. Sales in June, July, and early August remained close to the pre-campaign sales levels the title established in March.

Ebook Unit Sales

In addition, the strong sales that the title enjoyed during the community reading event generated enough sustained interest to warrant two special ebook promotions--one in July and one in November. These promotions clearly impacted ebook sales (as seen below), but also correspond to increases in print sales during the same time periods.

Print Unit Sales

The July promotion drove sales volumes close to the peak volumes established during the community reading event. The November promotion drove another substantial lift. (Note that December ebook sales numbers were not available for this update.) Post-campaign ebook sales (May through November) stayed above pre-campaign levels.

We will be conducting additional community reading event studies throughout 2019.

Additions to the Project Advisory Council

We are pleased to announce two additions to our Advisory Council:

  • Libby Jordan: Executive Director, Partnerships and Specialty Markets, Open Road Integrated Media

    Libby Jordan has been been in publishing for close to three decades—beginning with The Hearst Corporation’s magazine division and, soon thereafter, escaping into the magical world of commercial fiction at Dell/Delacorte (now a division of Penguin Random House) where she oversaw marketing for authors including Danielle Steel, John Grisham, Elmore Leonard, Maeve Binchy, and more. Over the years, Libby has held executive sales, marketing, and training positions with large publishers, independent presses, and a tech start-up or two. She founded a small digital marketing and design firm dedicated to training and educating authors in the effective use of social media and, in her spare time, serves as the director of the Book Division for NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute where, each summer, she works with 100+ recent college graduates looking for their first jobs in publishing. Libby is also, not so secretly, in love with the library reading app Libby, and will wax rhapsodic about it for hours on end. Ask anyone.

  • Dominique Raccah: Publisher and CEO, Sourcebooks

    Dominique Raccah is the entrepreneurial Publisher and CEO of Sourcebooks, the company she founded from her home in 1987. Dominique has lead a continuously growing, pioneering general book publishing house that proudly produces everything from adult and teen fiction, to top titles in children’s books, to baby names and college guides. Sourcebooks is the largest woman-owned book publisher in the country as well as the largest trade book publisher in Chicago. Dominique has been widely recognized as a leader in innovation in book publishing, being named Publishers Weekly Person of the Year in 2016. An inspiring and passionate presenter, Dominique speaks internationally on innovation, the future of book publishing and entrepreneurship, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, The Chicago Tribune, NPR, and The New York Times.

September Pilot Project Update

This post provides an update on the pilot projects we introduced last month.

  • Mid-List Authors Study - We are redesigning and refocusing this study. The updated research plan will include mid-list titles from several publishers, but will not include less well known titles from commercially successful authors. We believe that this more diverse, but more tightly focused test title group will yield more broadly applicable insights.

  • Genre Study - We are gathering data for this study and fine-tuning our research methodology. We expect to begin our formal research in a few weeks.

  • Library Reading Events Study - Our research and analysis for this study is done; we are writing our report. We will be sharing our findings later this fall.

  • Library Author Events Study - We are in the final stages of our data gathering and cleaning for this study. We will be exploring and analyzing the data this fall, with the goal of issuing a report by the end of the year.

  • Library/Book Seller Partnership Study - We are working with our current partners to refine our processes for collecting, organizing, and sharing library data. We are also recruiting additional library and retail partners for this study.

The project team is also researching the viability of several new studies, including a project focused on understanding the impact of library Readers’ Advisory activities.

We will share more on these new initiatives in upcoming posts.