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.
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%.
I think in large part you get what you expect. If you buy into the assumptions that we are in a recession, consumers aren’t buying, retail traffic is off, and books aren’t selling, then guess what? That is probably what you will experience. Call me a incorrigible optimist, but I am not buying it. I believe in growth, and I am planning for it.
Kudos to Dwight and his team at Baker for demonstrating that great companies can find significant growth, even in tough environments.