Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Christmas cheer lacking for NZ publishers

From PANZ Newsletter

“At HarperCollins, it was a generally OK Christmas, but the disappointment was the not very good sales in November, normally our top month,” said Graham Mitchell.
“It took until the second half of December for things to pick up, which was really late. The Hobbit movie tie-in titles were a big part of our bag this year, and although some of these were released as early as September, we saw excellent exponential growth after the Wellington premiere of the film.
“Graham Henry’s Final Word continued its five-month reign of the bestseller lists, and even now in the January lull, we’re seeing no let-up in re-orders. In a Christmas dominated with big-name fiction authors, Paullina Simons’ latest novel was strong. Our local ‘legacy’ titles, High Country Legacy and Petrol Heads in Sheds exceeded our expectations too.
“What interests me is whether we will replicate the ‘ebook’ Christmas the UK had two or three years back. Sales of devices, I understand, were up in New Zealand, and we’re now waiting to see how this might transform into ebook sales.”

Hachette’s Kevin Chapman said that the company’s Christmas was “pretty quiet.” One title, Richie McCaw: The Open Side was a stand-out, but for other titles there was little replenishment.
“I’m wary of doom and gloom, but when there were 50% off sales in main street stores the first week of December, it was no wonder it took so long for Christmas to start.
“BookScan shows sales down 6.3% for the year, and this was reflected in book trade Christmas figures.”

Penguin’s General Manager Sales, Siobhan Clare, said she felt some retailers were risk averse this Christmas. “We had two books that did really well, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel and Bryce Courtenay’s Jack of Diamonds.”
The children’s book bucked the trend for series by being 12% up on the previous year’s Christmas release. And while promoting Jack of Diamonds as “Bryce Courtenay’s last book” might have seemed insensitive, it turns out to have been the author’s own idea. “Other than those two books, for which reorders were high, it seemed retailers preferred to sell-through the stock they were holding.
“Books on the local list we thought would do well, like Back to the Land by Lynda Hallinan were disappointing in terms of sales, but Treats from Little and Friday emerged as 2012’s bestselling cookbook for us.”

Allen & Unwin New Zealand “had a good month of trading in December, but it was hard getting there,” said Melanie Laville-Moore. “Christmas certainly seems to get later each year, but it was OK in the end. October and November, when our key Christmas releases came out, were definitely slow starters.
“From the New Zealand list we were thrilled by the response to Dom Harvey’s Bucket List of an Idiot. Internationally the big sellers were Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour and The Black Box from Michael Connelly. Kate Morton has grown her market with The Secret Keeper.”

Random House’s Karen Ferns: “As shown in the BookScan results, Christmas came late and was muted, with lots of solid performers but few books spiking beyond expectations. Our customer service and distribution teams worked hard completing orders each day as bookseller orders were small quantities of a broad range of titles making it slower to pick and pack. This probably also reflected that independents had a Christmas which built on their skill in eclectic buying and recommending for their particular customers. That seemed to pay off and it meant a very diverse range of titles to manage stock on.
“A Random House strength is New Zealand heartland publishing and this area continued to be a gift of choice with A Fabled Land, the story of Mesopotamia, The Power of Us, NZ Rugby Kitchen and Joy Cowley’s story of the white kiwi Manukura all proving their broad appeal.
“There were no great surprises in international fiction with the biggest sales going to Lee Child’s A Wanted Man and another Fifty Shades surge. International non-fiction titles by personalities Rod Stewart, Leonard Cohen and Grace Coddington, who lived interesting lives and were known to baby boomers shone through.”

And to sum up, Siobhan’s quick take on title areas that were movers in 2012: “Sex, sport and food!”

1 comment:

Melinda Szymanik said...

And how did Scholastic fare?