A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Managing Expectations ... What do book surveys tell us?

There’s Something about Books ...

I have this little rant going on in my head about book surveys, but try as I might I have not been able to get it down on paper. I also can’t seem to find the “draft” button in ExpressionEngine so I’m going to embrace the non-static nature of the internet and post something that is in progress.

Here’s what I’m thinking. I read this article in the Saturday Globe and Mail by Kate Taylor. It was about a book-spending survey. I can’t find the StatCan survey she is referring to.

That aside, her point is that surveys never really tell you anything. I agree. Kate talks about the 2001 spending on books being an increase from the spending in 1997. Hello StatCan, 2001! A window on what went on 4 years ago ... [I have more to say on this].

And another thing, the numbers are always averages. The book industry looks good, there’s an increase in spending. Hey, I have one foot in boiling water and one foot frozen in ice. On average it looks like I’m in a comfortable position].

Aside from old data, the thing that never really gets dealt with is that there is a supply and demand problem with the publishing industry. There are at least 10 good new books that come out every season (Spring, Fall). Most people can’t read 10 books in 3-6 months and be ready for the next 10. And what about the 10 from a couple of years ago that you just heard about now?

How does a reader keep up? How many books do we really expect people to read in a year?

How many books do you read in a year?

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