Letter from Steve Piersanti, President, Berrett-Koehler Publishers
I am pleased to report that Berrett-Koehler Publishers is continuing to enjoy a tremendous year. Total BK revenues increased 16 percent in the first nine months of this year compared to the first nine months of 2011. This gain was broad-based across a wide range of publications and all publishing formats rather than being driven by just a few titles. Print sales increased by 6 percent, subsidiary rights income increased by 8 percent, and digital income increased by a whopping 81 percent.
We are continuing to outperform the book publishing industry as a whole. According to BookScan (which measures about 75 percent of retail print book sales in the U.S.), adult nonfiction print book sales fell by 17 percent in the first nine months of 2012 in the United States (Publishers Weekly, October 8, 2012).
We are also continuing to be a leader in the digital arena. Last year, Publishers Weekly’s annual story (May 23, 2011) about business book publishing declared: “The publisher putting the most concerted focus on digital developments in the business book category is the independent, California-based Berrett-Koehler.” This focus has paid off with digital sales already accounting for 19 percent of our total revenues in 2012. In comparison, the recent Aptara/Publishers Weekly survey found that only 36 percent of publishers had e-book sales of more than 10 percent of revenues (Publishers Weekly, September 19, 2012).
What is causing these good financial results? My sense is simply that Berrett-Koehler is firing on all cylinders. We've had great constancy of mission, strategy, organization, staff, management, and stakeholder communities for many years, and many things are working together in the way we intended them to work. We are publishing good authors and good books, and our titles over the past year have been especially timely and topical in relation to U.S. and world political and economic developments.
20 WAYS BK BOOKS HELP CREATE A WORLD THAT WORKS FOR ALL
While we are pleased by these solid financial results that strengthen our business, what most motivates us is Berrett-Koehler’s mission of “Creating a World That Works for All.” For our recent 20th Anniversary Celebration, I created a list of “20 Ways BK Books Help Create a World That Works for All,” which can be accessed here.
And I gave an eleven-minute presentation with other information on this topic. The text of this presentation can be accessed here.
GOOD NEWS FOR THOSE WHO MISSED OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
If you missed our celebration or simply want to view it again, you can watch not only my presentation but also the remarks of fifteen of our bestselling authors by clicking on this link.
“EIGHT SMART BUSINESS LESSONS FROM A SAVVY BUSINESS PUBLISHER”
That is the title of an article that recently appeared in the Huffington Post by bestselling BK author BJ Gallagher. We are grateful for BJ’s wonderful comments about Berrett-Koehler.
“SURVEY OF AUTHORS REVEALS WIDESPREAD DISSATISFACTION WITH PUBLISHING INDUSTRY”
That is the headline from a widely circulated news story (May 24, 2012) reporting on a survey commissioned by The Writers’ Workshop, which is the leading editorial consultancy in the UK. The story begins: “A major survey of professional authors has revealed serious levels of dissatisfaction with traditional publishers. One third of authors report that they were not consulted about marketing plans. Asked about marketing campaigns, 38.7% chose the answer, ‘What marketing campaign? I never noticed one.’”
We have developed many Berrett-Koehler practices over the years to avoid the sorts of problems reflected in this survey. Some of these BK practices are described in this list.
“THE BEST NEWSLETTER OF ITS KIND BAR NONE”
The BK Communiqué (which provides fun and informative information on our new books as well as on the publishing and media worlds generally) continues to receive fantastic feedback from readers. Here is the latest such feedback, which is from Richard Hackman, an award-winning professor at Harvard University: “The BK Communiqué is the only newsletter I read . . . the best newsletter of its kind bar none.”
If you are not a regular Communiqué reader, I hope that you will become so. It is free and is published every other Thursday. If for some reason you don’t receive it, please let me know and we will add you to the distribution list.
We appreciate your support for Berrett-Koehler!