Consumer Data at BookExpo 2017

BookExpo has been morphing into a conference for several years, with more programming taking place during the convention.  Along with a full day of events hosted by the Audio Publishers Association (APA), this year had a three-day schedule of panels focused on marketing, rights, bookselling, and, of course, books and authors.

The kickoff panel, “Consumer Centric Data: The New Currency of Publishing,” on May 31 included ReedPop’s Lance Fensterman, Nielsen’s Jo Henry, Kristen McLean from NPD, APA’s Michele Cobb, Bookpub’s Annie Stone and OverDrive’s David BurleighPublishing Perspective’s Porter Anderson* was the very able moderator.

Jo Henry talked about stats in the UK, which mirror the US though readership among children is dropping more quickly there than in the US – 9% since 2012.  In the US, readership among children under age 13 is increasing – a good sign, said McLean.  Board books have shown particular strength, and are up 7% year over year.

Perhaps the most surprising stats came from Michele Cobb and David Burleigh, who discussed the rise of audiobooks.  Burleigh said audiobook lending is up 27% since 2014. This year, according to Cobb, 71% of audiobook readers say they are listening at home, and 56% of those are “doing nothing but listening,” – a surprise to the survey’s creators.  A small but growing percentage are using their Amazon Echo and Google Home for this.  The biggest categories are mystery/thriller/suspense, followed by science fiction and romance.  Children don’t listen to audiobooks much – yet.  But according to the APA’s Cobb, a child can listen to an audiobook two years above his or her grade reading level.

Bookpub’s Annie Stone was also asked about whether her company would move into audiobooks.  With 10 million worldwide subscribers (a million of those in the UK), her answer was, not surprising:  “We’re looking into it.”

To see Publishing Perspective’s more detailed write up, click here.