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Romancing the Stats

Detailed statistics on publishing are not easily obtained. The gatekeeper for this sort of thing is Simba Information Inc. (site), a market research firm that tracks the media and sells reports with price tags in the multiple thousands of dollars range. Simba’s report on Business and Consumer Book Publishing 2009, for instance, is available for $2,995 for download online and for $3,195 in hard copy. A book like that will tell you all about any of the genres and how they are doing, chapter and verse—until next year, when it is time to fork over another three grand for an update. The price is undoubtedly very good considering the labor involved. Often, in such cases, associations will then publish excerpts from such reports and give those with thin resources a peek inside. Today a look at Romances (and more) thanks to the site of Romance Writers of America (here).

On this site we discover some interesting data on fiction sales in particular and genre market shares in some reasonable detail. In all that follows, the year is 2008. In that year book sales came in at $10.2 billion. Total fiction clocked in at $3.9 billion, representing almost 38 percent of all book sales. As for the shares of the genres, expressed as percent of total book sales we get, in order of importance: Romances 13.5 percent of all books, Religious/Inspirational 7.9 percent, Mystery 6.6 percent, Science Fiction/Fantasy 5.4 percent, Classic Literary Fiction 4.6 percent of all books. Shares of these categories as a percent of fiction only are shown in the graphic.

Interesting, isn’t it? But we’ll let this sink in a bit before commenting more.


One Response

  1. […] and by category of reader. One of our posts touching on this subject was “Romancing the Stats” here. The subdivisions there hide the even greater diversity beneath a broad label like […]

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