It’s that time of year when many of us tend to look back and think of what has happened and what we have accomplished. For WestBow Press, Thomas Nelson and book publishing in general, 2012 has been a year of change and growth.
WestBow Press continues to help a record number of aspiring authors fulfill their dreams of publishing their books. We launched several new services including book signings at Women of Faith conferences, and book signing and stocking packages with Berean Christian Stores. The winner of the second Women of Faith Writing Contest was acquired by a traditional publisher shortly after being announced as the winner, and William Sirls’ book, The Reason, was acquired by Thomas Nelson and has sold nearly 30,000 copies since it was released in September. Perfectly Unique, by Annie Downs was acquired by Zondervan and the new edition has consistently ranked in the top 15,000 on Amazon.
Thomas Nelson’s acquisition by HarperCollins was finalized in July, and HarperCollins Christian Publishing was formed by combining Nelson and Zondervan shortly thereafter. Nelson CEO Mark Schoenwald was named CEO of the combined operation, and all the product groups within the imprints continue to operate as distinct entities with a healthy level of in-house competition. Sales of Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young have continued to gather steam as sales of Heaven Is For Real, by Todd Burpo have slowed.
The book publishing industry continues to experience dramatic changes driven by consolidation and the impact of e-books, online retailing and self-publishing. Pearson, Penguin’s parent company, acquired Author Solutions (Thomas Nelson’s partner in its WestBow Press division), and now Random House and Penguin have announced plans to merge.
This year several new self-publishing ventures were launched. The biggest titles of the year, the Shades of Grey series, emerged from self-publishing. E-books, while no longer growing at a triple-digit pace, are up nearly 50 percent, year to date. E-books also make up over 30 percent of printed trade book sales, which have also grown by over 6 percent.
What events from the past year had the biggest impact on publishing from your perspective—and what do you think will be the big events during 2013?