By Julieta Lionetti
Oh, to take arms against a sea of paper…
In 2011, 583 new publishing houses started business in Spain, according to the last report of the Spanish ISBN Agency, representing 67% growth compared to 2010 harvest of 349. Far from being good news, the figures are troubling when one considers the context of steadily sinking sales that has lasted at least four years.
New titles climbed to 107,842 — an alarming 36% growth compared to 2010. Reprints plummeted 14%, to a total of 4,848 compared with the meagre 5,614 of the previous year.
Most of these new publishers issue less than 10 titles a year and lack any clout with distributors and wholesalers, which is key to guaranteeing fulfilment in the supply chain. The improvement and popularization of POD technologies, which lowers the cost of entry, have drawn many to the vanity-press business. At the same time it’s also true that a considerable number of these nano-publishers are devoted to high quality fiction and non-fiction books, abandoned long ago by profit-driven bigger houses.
The Spanish book market is worth 3 billion euros annually, with 95% of that value concentrated in 889 publishers, members of the FGEE (Federation of Spanish Publishers Guilds). No doubt hyperkinesis goes together with the proliferation of tiny publishing ventures, many of them generally short-lived. Some of their books do not even have a shelf life. According to the FGEE (Federation of Spanish Publishers Guilds), 3,574 publishers issued at least one book during 2011, not counting self-published indies, while just 217 published more than 100 titles, representing 62% of total production.
Long tail is here to stay, which could be good news for online aggregators and retailers, with better tools and experience for managing it.
2010 – 2011