9 Astonishing Facts About Amazon [Infographic]

Last week, FrugalDad published an amazing graphic about Amazon. Since 1994, Jeff Bezos, the CEO, has steadily grown the company. I knew it was big, but I had no idea how big.

This infographic is worth studying in detail. No author, retailer, or publisher can afford to ignore this behemoth. (Don’t miss the question at the end. Please leave a comment! I’d like to know what you think.)

Top Ten U.S. Book Publishers for 2009

Every month, I review a set of market share reports prepared by one of our internal analysts. While the data behind these reports are not perfect, I do believe they represent the best view of the book publishing market currently available. As a result, even though it’s been almost two years since I posted a high-level summary of the data, I thought it would provide you with some insight into our industry.

The Importance of Listening to Consumers

Thirty years ago, when I first got into the book publishing business, it was an elitist occupation. Publishers met in smoke-filled board rooms and made decisions about what the reading public should read. It never occurred to them to ask the readers themselves.

a woman shouting at a man through a bull horn

However, as the new marketing director for a fairly successful imprint, I didn’t know any better. I naively decided to conduct a consumer research project. I wanted to know more about what influenced readers to buy our books. Was it an advertisement for the book, an interview with the author, merchandising in the store, or perhaps the simple recommendation of a friend? It seemed like an obvious question.

Remember the People from Whom You Have Come

Today is the first day of our 2010 fiscal year at Thomas Nelson. It is our 212th year in business. It is a day full of new beginnings and possibilities. As I thought about that today, I thought it might be good to take a quick look at the past as we prepare for the future.

a painting of thomas nelson's castle hill location in edinburgh

Thomas Nelson’s Gaelic ancestors had a popular proverb: “Cuimhnich air na daoine o’n d’thainig thu.” It means, “Remember the people from whom you have come.” This is a wise and powerful saying. It is often forgotten in our modern world that places such a high value on everything new and shiny. But remembering our ancestors often provides a treasure-trove of resources for meeting the challenges of today.

Our company began in Scotland with the birth of Thomas Neilson [sic] in 1780. Though his parents were farmers, he developed an interest in printing, the most high-tech industry of the 18th century. As a result, his parents sent him to London to become an apprentice in a print shop on Paternoster Row, which was kind of the Silicon Valley of the Day.

This Publisher Evidently Didn’t Get the Memo

I hear publishers and booksellers complaining all the time about how bad the book publishing industry is. Gas prices are up. Retail traffic is down. Books are simply not moving. One pundit remarked, “Flat is the new up.” Evidently, Dwight Baker and his team at Baker Publishing Group didn’t get the memo.

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For the fiscal year ending April 30, 2008, Baker reported sales up 16% to $57.9. Yes, they had a huge hit with 90 Minutes in Heaven, but, according to Dwight, their sales growth was “much more comprehensive” than this one title. In fact, the company experienced growth in all divisions: Revell was up 26%; Chosen, 25%; Baker Books, 15%; Baker Academic, 13%; Brazos, 10%, and Bethany House, 9%.