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The changing world of publishing

15 May 2017

Backlist titles, because they are always available, offer opportunities to benefit from new publicity. The effect of changing exchange rates on publishing is shown by price increases at Wordsworth Editions.

Backlist titles kept in print or available for print on demand are always in stock, meaning that all titles are effectively in play now, as Mike Shatzkin has just pointed out.

Shatzkin says:

‘A title's age doesn't matter anymore. So every publicity break - indeed, any change in circumstances that would make a book more likely to be discovered in search - is an opportunity to increase sales through publisher initiative.

That is a new challenge and it requires solutions we didn't contemplate 10 or 15 years ago when the idea that more printed books would be sold online than in stores was not an idea to be taken very seriously.'

It also represents a huge opportunity for authors and in particular self-publishers to benefit from the fact that their books are always available and they can immediately benefit from any publicity break which reinvigorates their potential sales.

Wordsworth increases prices

The Wordsworths Classics range, which are inexpensive editions of around 270 literary classics, have been priced at £1.99 for over a decade , but this price will now be raised to £2.50. Increasing paper prices are part of the reason for this, but for a publisher which achieves a lot of its sales internationally and through educational markets, the Brexit effect is twofold - paper has become more expensive because of the fall in the pound, but on the sales side it has given the company a boost because the books are cheaper to sell and thus more attractive in the export markets.

Pricing is an important element in publishing and as previously reported this price change brought about by the changing export situation has given British publishers a boost, leading to the increase in export sales, now comprising 54% of total, UK book sales reported in a recent News Review.