Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

There’s been a lot of negativity and pessimism around these here parts lately – I blame John McFetridge, myself – but here’s a piece from Publishers Weekly on U.S. sales from 2008 that kind of puts all the talk of doom and gloom into perspective, the gist of it running thusly:
Despite panic among many publishers and booksellers about the state of the business, figures compiled by Nielsen BookScan show that unit sales fell only 0.2% in 2008, to 756.1 million.
  Now, I know that the business side of the industry is not my forte, and that there are tough times to come over the next few years, but a drop of 0.2% is hardly the End of Times, is it? Oh, and by the way – adult fiction actually grew in 2008, by 0.4%. Three cheers, two stools and a lusty huzzah!
  Meanwhile, those of you thinking about what kind of novel to write next might want to consider the fact that Juvenile sales were the biggest mover, by a long chalk, up 6.2%. Maybe I should start paying more attention to Ms Witch


John McFetridge said...

Hey, if you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

Or don't get caught.

Adult fiction went up? Well, they can't blame that on us.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Gentlemen, behave!

What I wonder about, more than total sales, is the distribution of those sales. Are sales more heavily concentrated on fewer bestsellers than before? And have the prices of books increased faster than the rate of inflation? Prices of hardbacks, for instance, are bloody shocking.

I wonder to what extent the Hard Case Crime model -- good books, (relatively) cheap -- is applicable elsewhere in crime-fiction publishing.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Declan Burke said...

Good books? Relatively cheap?

You just don't get this business AT ALL, do you Peter?

Cheers, Dec

Peter Rozovsky said...

Yeah, I know. I talk like I just got off the boat or something. But how does Hard Case manage to do what it does?

bookwitch said...

Start paying attention to me?? Oh, I see you say more attention. That's better. I was halfway to Ireland with my broom to whack you over the head...

Peter - good books??! After my moan the other day I find I'm one third into another book, better than some, but it's still lacking any real life and I'm wondering whether to leave it or persevere.

Dana King said...

This is another example of MBAs ruining the economy. They're panicking, laying people off, and sales are no worse than flat. A lot of companies are doing this, which creates a self-fulfilling prophesy of recession, as people who are laid off don't have any money, and people who are afraid they might get laid off (because their neighbor did) are holding on to their money, and on it goes.

For those who think I'm being too harsh on MBAs, George W. Bush was the first president with an MBA. Case closed.

Ali Karim said...

Hi guys - I got in a lot of bother in the corporate world by telling my boss that I had an MBWA, which was a better busines qualification than his MBA. He asked me what MBWA stood for? I replied 'Management By Walking About' which is better than the "Master of Bugger-All"

Needless to say it was a bad career move as tumbled down the corporate snake.

But then again the corporate world is filled with Psychopaths and Tossers


John McFetridge said...

"Psychopaths and Tossers," sounds like it could be a sitcom or a band...