New York Writer
Steve Greechie, MBA, MSLIS, MA
Writer for Business and Personal Affairs
The Merchant's Companion, 1715
Introduction, A Directory of Publishing Industry Resources
by Steve Greechie
Journal of Business and Finance Librarianship, 8 (2), 2002
The publishing industry - the book industry, the magazine industry, and the newspaper industry combined - was worth over $119 billion in 2004 (according to Standard & Poor's). It is highly complex and volatile, and faced with new competing media, advancing technologies, and the opportunities of globalization. In all, it is a challenge for the researcher - the executive, the competitive intelligence team, the supplier - to scan or to monitor the industry landscape.
To make matters worse, when we type the name of a publisher into the search field of an aggregator, the results include every article with the publisher's name on the copyright line. We have to depend on the aggregator's indexing.
I offer here a directory of resources for research in the area of print publishing, directed primarily to the business researcher - as opposed to the writer or the editor. It is intended to direct the reader to industry information. I favor sources of quantitative data or otherwise pithy content. The reader will find access to current and historical data, directories, statistics, analyses, bibliographies, the occasional forecasts, etc .
These resources, mostly online, cover the global industry and the American industry specifically. But in business, even geography is relative. Case in point: Communications Industry Forecast from Veronis Suhler studies the American market, but its industry data includes foreign companies that file with SEC.
I've generally listed the producer as the entry - the association or the publisher. Where it was appropriate, I've listed individual product itself - the database or publication. While the report provides introductions to the resources of the publishing industry, its reach extends to writing, bookselling, and the other related fields.
In many cases, I've explored only part of a resource - the most valuable, or the most relevant. I've excluded from this study the general business resources, such as The Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as aggregators like Dialog and the general online finding tools. While the listing is not exhaustive, none of the most important specilized resources are missing. Entries have been chosen to cover every aspect of the vertical industry, and limited to those offering information that we can reasonably assume to be valid.
I've generally noted whether information is free to the casual browser or restricted by fee or membership.
The function of a business website varies. In many cases, it is essentially the product itself. In others it is merely a distribution outlet, as for print resources. I include all web addresses as, at the very least, directionals.
We cannot expect data to be invariably current. Of course, company financial data is available as soon as it is filed with the SEC or other regulatory agency - but it takes time to assimilate and analyze data. Moreover, publishers are not eager to release information. We can expect some American industry figures to be a year or two behind real time - and international figures can be even more outdated.
We find as well that we cannot assume an agreement on taxonomy - or even on terms. Note that the Association of American Publishers includes audio books and electronic books in its tables as "types of books".
If this lack of standard vocabulary results in dissonance, we find a reassuring redundancy between sources. For example, a figure from a publisher might be funneled through the Association of American Publishers or the Book Industry Study Group before it appears in Open Book's Subtext Perspective on Publishing, which, on some tables, acknowledges both.
Difficulties aside, I hope the reader is satisfied with the following. If it doesn't contain all we need to know, it may at least contain all we can be expected to know.