Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stephanie Meyer Phenomenon Propels Hachette Books
by Jim Milliot -- Publishers Weekly, 3/30/2009

In discussing the first-half performance of Hachette Book Group earlier this year, CEO David Young said 2008 would be remembered as the year of Stephenie Meyer, a prediction that indeed came true.

With Meyer's books selling a total of 29.7 million copies last year, HBG's sales jumped 26%, to well over $600 million. “It's been wonderful to be part of a true phenomenon,” Young said, adding that momentum for Meyer's titles continues as her audience expands beyond the teenage girls and young adults who were her first fans. The Twilight Saga Journals, a series featuring quotes from the Twilight books and artwork, is coming in September, and the film of New Moon is due at Thanksgiving.
Beyond Meyer, Young said there was underlying strength across all divisions. The Shack, published in cooperation with Windblown Media, is nearing six million copies sold, while James Patterson continues to be HBG's “rock,” contributing hardcover, paperback, audio and children bestsellers, Young said.

HBG's investments in digitizing its titles began to pay off in 2008, with e-book sales jumping to $4.7 million. Young said sales for the format remain strong and could top $10 million in 2009.
While that would represent about 2% of revenue, in some imprints, such as Orbit, e-book sales could constitute 5%to 10% of sales, Young said. HBG continues to digitize all frontlist titles that are appropriate for the e-book format and by the end of the year should have all suitable backlist works digitized as well. HBG also generated $1 million in print-on-demand sales last year, largely through Young's call to “eradicate” out-of-stock-indefinitely titles.
HBG had about 6,000 OSI titles, and Young formed a team to either declare them out-of-print or to move them to the POD program. “We want to extend the useful life of our books,” Young said.

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