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ECPA Wire: Industry Issues

Connecting You to Vital Information

Friday, February 4, 2011   (2 Comments)
Posted by: Sheri Toomb
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Connecting You to Vital Information

Mark W. Kuyper, President/CEO, ECPA

E-Link, February 2011

Mark Kuyper

ECPA Strategic Goal #2

ECPA will provide a wide array of avenues to access expertise, data and information about publishing in general, our industry specifically, developing technologies, vendors, legal issues and global opportunities.

Information and data were front and center at the Digital Book World Conference (DBW) last week. It seemed every speaker was quoting research from different sources or talking about standards, metadata and tagging. Scott Lubeck, Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), has continually made the point that making assumptions based on general data are no longer an option for publishers in this digital era.

Today’s publisher needs specific data and information in order to make informed decisions on everything from product development (with all of its metadata and tagging), the current marketplace, the various forms of distribution, to third party vendors, marketing, discoverability, and consumer behavior.

Not only do you need to know a lot more than you ever have before, but a myriad of data and information is now available like never before!

In fact, almost every ECPA-member CEO has told me that if there was anything ECPA could do to help make publishing information easier to access and digest, it would be a great service. I believe we’ve made great strides in that area on behalf of our members, and I’d like to tell you about a couple of new services we’ve developed, now available to you: is Information Central
In order to meet our members’ information needs, we have provided easy access to a number of sources through our new website at In the News section we connect you to many industry blog, twitter, and news feeds as well as Association news, member press releases (Rush to Press) and a Press Room. These feeds are populated with observations and opinions from many of the leading voices within the ECPA community and the publishing industry at large.

In the Community area, you will also be able to track the developments of most of the Association’s committees, peer groups, task forces and forums. You can offer your opinions, ask and answer questions, and generally connect with the ECPA community to get help from your peers.

In the sub category of Links we have created a list of key third party vendors you can search based on their services like: Advertising/Marketing Services, Content Solutions, e-Catalog services, Royalty and Rights Management, Workflow Solutions and many more. You will be able to identify which companies are ECPA members, sponsors and solutions providers that offer discounts or savings unique to ECPA members. Many of these companies have site profiles providing more information about the breadth of their services with all of the their contact information.

In our Community Calendar (Events menu), there is a listing of industry events including conferences and webinars from some of the most popular and influential organizations, often with discounts for ECPA members. Over time, we will introduce more information including standards and best practices from other organizations like the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) and the American Association of Publishers (AAP).

Data is King’
It has been a challenge to access quality information about how books are selling in the industry. To support this need, we are proud to be in the final stages of delivering the Pubtrack Distribution data, which tracks 100% of the sales out of the warehouse regardless of channel and is aggregated with other ECPA publishers.

This new service from RR Bowker is the most comprehensive, accessible, multi-channel reporting tool in publishing today. It was created first for the ECPA family of publishers, but will soon expand into the larger publishing industry. This service provides unprecedented exposure into channel distribution, returns, category movement, market share and more.

The program has already been developed and is populated with at least two years of data by participating publishers that include Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, Crossway, David C Cook and Gospel Light. We hope to add several more publishers this year to make the data even more comprehensive and valuable.

We will continue to provide high-level information to the industry in the form of quarterly reports from this data. As participation expands, more reporting will become available. Eventually we hope to use this data to drive more press coverage of our members’ products and the industry as a whole.

Additional ECPA Programs to keep you Informed
These new efforts join a host of other services we offer our members to keep you abreast of the latest news and information affecting your daily decisions. They include:

Our educational Book Cover Awards program

In addition, our events, the Executive Leadership Summit (ELS), CEO Symposium, PUBu and PUBu online offer you some of the most current data, information, research and thinking on publishing issues today.

At ECPA, we are working hard to keep you informed, but we also need your help to do this: Your participation is critical to the success of these programs and your continued feedback is vital to helping us meet your ever-changing and expanding needs. As you engage in our services, please feel free to share your thoughts and comments so we can serve you even better!

Mark Kuyper is the President and CEO of ECPA. He has nearly 30 years of experience in the Christian resources industry. Previously he served as the VP of Business Development and Marketing for CBA (the trade association for Christian retailers). He also worked for NavPress for over 10 years starting as a Customer Service Supervisor and completing his service as Sales Director. During this time he also served on the Leadership and Publishing teams for the organization. He began his career as a manager for Family Christian Stores. Mark currently serves on the board of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) and Magazine Training International.   Mark is married to Vicki, an author of more than 50 books, and has two grown children.


Mark Kuyper says...
Posted Monday, February 7, 2011
David, you are absolutely correct. There are some statistics for launches of new books by popular authors, or large percentages of e-books sold after a large number of readers were received as gifts. But these stats simply point to a growing potential for e-book because most publishers are still in the low single digits in terms of percent of overall sales. There is great opportunity so we all need to pay attention, but we always need to put the extreme statistics in their proper context.
David Fessenden says...
Posted Monday, February 7, 2011
Mark, it is so true that "making assumptions based on general data are no longer an option for publishers in this digital era." I might add that making assumptions based on the pseudo-statistics that are bandied about in the media is no longer an option either. I am thinking in particular about the recent headlines that announced confidently that "e-books have surpassed paper-and-ink in sales." Further inspection of that statistic revealed that they were talking only about top-selling fiction titles by major (secular) publishers in a particular week (and I suspect it may have been a week in which e-books were promoted by selling them at reduced prices or even offering a free download). Yes, certainly e-books are a significant market, but let's not be fooled into believing a publicity stunt by people with a distinct bias.

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