Announcing our new imprints …

I’ve made a career of implementing change in the IT world. For years, I’ve been the guy who comes in and leads large implementations to transform organizations. I’ve been the guy a lot of people groan about because I have been a harbinger of change — often difficult. Ideally, these changes work out and organizations become more efficient. I suppose I would not have survived for 35 years in IT if that were not the case.
Then comes Sunbury Press. While I am the owner, I was dreading changing anything. Everything seemed to be working well enough. Why should I disrupt what we are doing? Maybe it will screw things up!  Maybe I should just ride it out a little longer … funny how I, too, am nervous about change over my own domain — not so much when it is someone else’s!
After a lot of thought, and listening to advice from many quarters, including reviewing what other publishers in the industry have done, I have decided to go ahead and launch our new line of imprints. These will serve to better target our reader communities and hopefully develop loyalty in more of our offerings.
This decision was not easy.  We are not a large publisher from a financial perspective, and creating five additional brands could be cumbersome.  But, it is also necessary to achieve the level of success we are collectively seeking.
First, before I unveil them, know that we are still Sunbury Press, Inc. The corporate name is not changing. We are only changing the imprint or brand under which we register our books for sale. This means, depending on your category, your books will begin to have this new targeted branding. Nothing changes regarding our contracts, or from a legal perspective with the book trade.
So, here we go:
Sunbury Press — remains as our primary nonfiction imprint. Our history, self-help, science, political, biography/memoir titles will continue to be published under our traditional brand. This makes a lot of sense since it has been very successful with these categories. In fact, many bookstore buyers think of Sunbury Press as a history-oriented press.
Milford House Press — is our new general fiction line, including mysteries, historical, sports, westerns, and young adult titles. Several years ago, I was on my way to Boston and stayed over in Milford. There was a lovely classic revival mansion in the town which had been converted to the library. At the time, I thought of Milford House Press as a potential brand and had the logo in my head until just the other week, when I designed it. Some of you are already holding books with this new logo.
Hellbender Books — is our new imprint for our horror, thriller, fantasy, and science fiction titles. It has been clear for some time that segmenting these titles into a more appropriate brand would eliminate confusion. Usually, in my experience, a rising sun, as in the Sunbury Press logo, is the bane of the nasty things that dwell in the night. So, why would we want such a positive enlightened logo on our more disturbing material? I know Tom Malafarina and Keith Rommel are happier now. Hellbender came from the large salamanders found in streams in the northeast. While not creepy themselves, the name was cool. And, the logo has kind of a horned “H” thing going on. Anyway, I think it works.
Brown Posey Press — is our new imprint for our literary fiction, creative nonfiction, and arts-oriented titles. For these books, we wanted a more boutique feel — something more niche sounding. Tammi and I were watching a movie some time ago, and the actor mentioned brown posies. I actually reserved the URL that evening and have held it for quite awhile. Now it’s being put to use.  The logo includes a wood carving from the Middle Ages overlaid with two shade of brown.
Ars Metaphysica — permits us to segment our spiritual and metaphysical fiction and nonfiction. It will also be home for our paranormal titles. This imprint was cooked up last year, while talking to Susan Kiskis about a potential blog under this name. I pulled a mystical design from ancient times.
Speckled Egg Press — has been resurrected to be used for our childrens (juvenile) titles. While we had taken a hiatus from publishing them, we are looking at reintroducing a line of paperbacks under this brand. Tammi designed the logo several years ago, and it had been used on a limited number of books.
So, how will this work?  New books will be assigned to their appropriate imprint. As we release your new books, we may take that opportunity to rebrand your other titles, especially if they are in the same series. This takes time, and money, and will likely require many months to accomplish.  The goal is to complete the rebranding effort of active titles over the next 12 months.

Book Publishing Annual StatShot Survey Reveals Religious Crossover and Inspirational Books Supported Trade Book Growth in 2016

Print books account for 70.6% of all units sold; eBook revenues decline
Washington, DC; August 1, 2017 – The Association of American Publishers (AAP) announced today that the U.S. book publishing industry generated $26.24 billion in net revenue for 2016, representing 2.7 billion in units (volume). Books with religious and inspirational themes from religious presses and trade publishers were among the best-selling books.
StatShot Annual estimates the book publishing industry’s size and scope, tracking the sales and volume data for trade (fiction/non-fiction/religious), PreK-12 instructional materials, higher education course materials, university presses, and professional books.
While publisher revenue (1.5%) and units sold (2.8%) both increased for trade books, the overall publishing industry saw a decline in revenue (-5.1%.) This may in large part be attributed to a challenging year in the education and scholarly publishing markets, which together comprise about 40% of tracked revenues.
Publisher revenue for trade books grew by $231 million from 2015 to 2016. American publishers sold nearly 2.5 billion trade books, including print, eBook and audiobooks.
Trade Books
Most of the inspirational and religious crossover books that were popular in 2016 are found in the religious presses and Adult non-fiction categories. Since 2014, Adult non-fiction has been the category with the greatest revenue growth, gaining nearly $1 billion. The category went from $4.97 billion in 2014 to $5.87 billion in 2016. Among other books, the category includes memoirs, biographies, inspirational books, political books, and adult coloring books. Within Adult non-fiction, about 80% of the books sold were print, the majority being paperback books. Religious presses, imprints that focus on religion, spirituality and faith, grew by 6.9% to $1.13 billion from 2015 to 2016.Area of Growth: Inspirational and Religious Crossover Books
“Books that emphasized values, simple living or had inspirational messages like the Magnolia Story, Present Over Perfect, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Uninvited were among the most popular in 2016,” said Tina Jordan, Vice President of Trade Publishing, Association of American Publishers.
Childrens/Young Adult Books and Adult Books
Both fiction and non-fiction Childrens and Young Adult Books saw revenue and unit growth. The overall Childrens/YA Books category grew by 5.9% from $4.22 billion in 2015 to $4.47 billion in revenue in 2016. In all, about 1 billion Childrens/YA books were sold to bookstores, online retailers, directly, or otherwise. Nearly 90% of the books sold in Childrens/YA books in 2016 were print books. eBooks declined from a high of 8.6% share of market in 2012 to 3.3% in 2016 and downloaded audio rose from 0.3% share of market in 2012 to 1.2% in 2016.
The Adult Books category shrank 0.9% in 2016 vs. 2015. The nearly 1.3 billion Adult books sold in 2016 encompassed 65% of trade publisher revenues for the year. While publisher revenue for Adult non-fiction has grown every year for the past five years, growing by 22.9% since 2012, Adult fiction has done the opposite, slowly bringing in less revenue each year.
Within the Adult books category, the fastest growing formats in terms of units sold were downloaded audio (up 18.8%), and paperback (up 7.3%). In 2016 print books comprised 66.9% of the books sold, audiobooks were 5.9%, eBooks were 23.1%, and other formats were 4.7%. In 2012, the mix was 66.4% print books, 3.6% audiobooks, 28.4% eBooks and 2.7% other formats.
 
 Trade Formats: Downloaded Audio Grew Significantly, eBooks Declined
 
 Paperback books: Remaining the most popular format overall in terms of units sold, more than 1 billion paperback books were purchased in 2016, comprising 41.7% of the market. Mass market adds another 7.4%. Revenue was up for paperbacks in 2016 to $5.57 billion from $5.29 billion in 2015. This is the most popular format for Adult non-fiction book readers.
Downloaded audio: As they have each year for the last three years, both unit sales and publisher revenue grew by double digits. More than 16 million additional units were sold in 2016 than in 2015, representing 24.7% growth. While downloaded audio represents a small percentage of books sold (3.3% of units) it’s becoming an increasingly popular category – especially for Adult fiction readers. Both unit sales and revenue have more than doubled for this format since 2012, growing from $299 million to $643 million in 2016.
eBooks: Publisher revenue and unit sales for eBooks declined for the third year in a row, losing about $1 billion since their peak in 2013 when revenues were $3.24 billion. In 2016, publisher revenues for eBooks were $2.26 billion, down 16.9% from 2015. Unit sales also declined by 14.7%, with eBooks now making up 14.0% of the trade book market, down from 16.9% last year. Within the Adult fiction book category, eBooks are the most purchased format with 33.0% of the market.
Hardback books: While they are not the best-selling format, hardback books remain quite popular. Both unit sales and publisher revenue increased for the second consecutive year. Revenue was up $265 million (4.9%) in 2016 and 10 million more units were sold (1.7%).
Number of Trade Book Units Sold by Format
 
  • Print
    • Paperback & mass market: 1.22 billion
    • Hardback: 580 million
    • Children’s board books: 96 million
  • Digital
    • eBook: 348 million
    • Downloaded audio: 82 million
  • Other (includes physical audio, bundles, books with unconventional binding): 147 million