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Consumer Research


Book popularity on the rise

Book popularity on the rise

According to Book Publishing, a new Market Report from market intelligence providers Key Note, more titles are being published than ever before, more books are being bought than ever before and, if the retail analysts are right, there are more book buyers than ever.

Yet a lot of authors and, to a certain extent, publishers are feeling squeezed by the current market conditions — that is, the proliferation of high-profile best-selling books and the resurgence of the back-list books (traditional, safe, money-spinning classics, including the 20th-century classics).

In other words, the market is becoming polarised between the high-volume, highly promoted books and those books that are reprints of old favourites. It is interesting that a number of publishers are either publishing or about to publish new editions of some of the UK’s most famous classics. This is an indication that there is a new thirst for many of the well-worn classics.

As a result of this, the ‘mid-list’ gets left behind. The mid-list, when it applies to fiction, refers to new, or relatively new, authors. Mid-list authors are those who have not yet built up a sufficient reputation among book buyers for their new works to be bought on the strength of their name alone. 10 years ago, most publishers would be willing to take a chance with a mid-list novelist or poet if they thought there was a possibility of the book selling reasonably well.

However, ‘reasonably well’ in today’s climate is not good enough and publishers are under pressure to produce best sellers. So a book that might have been accepted for publication in 1996 might well not find a publisher in 2006. This is especially true of the large publishers. It is less applicable to some of the smaller publishers


A full copy of this report is available from

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