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RANT: UK Publishers Association Releases Useless Stats – Wants You to Buy The 2011 Stats Yearbook

The Publishers Association sent out a press release (here) early this morning to announce that they’ve just compiling the 2011 stats for the UK book market. They’re now selling it as a yearbook for more money than I care to pay.

The press release was likely sent out in the hopes that everyone would write about, thus improving the chances that the Publishers Association would sell more copies.

This is not the post that the Publishers Association was expecting.

I’m not writing about the stats mentioned in the press release for the simple fact that I don’t believe that I can do a decent post on it. While some of the details are interesting, as a whole the press release less resembles useful information than it does a sparse conglomeration of vaguely related stats about the UK book market.

None of the details are in context. While the release mentions that digital sales made up 8% of sales, they don’t mention how much that is. And even though it says that "consumer ebook sales are now equivalent to 6% of consumer physical book sales by value", it’s not clear whether the 6% is inclusive or additive, nor is any monetary figure mentioned.

Sure, I could fake up a post using the press release, but it wouldn’t be much different from all the other stories. I would be quite literally rewriting the press release. I will confess to having done that before, but in those cases I at least tried to write a post which said something different from all the rest. That cannot be done with this press release because there simply isn’t enough info included. I would have to use all the details that everyone else used just to achieve a post that I would describe as adequate.

If you want to see a story written from this press release, check out The Bookseller. They did a good job – so much so that I don’t see a need to repeat it.

P.S. I do not mean to single out the PA for sending out a useless press release. It’s actually fairly common; the PA simply had the bad luck to send it to me shortly after I got crappy press releases from BISG and other organizations.


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