Last week we travelled to Woking to a publisher seminar run by Nielsen Book Services. Nielsen Book Services is the book division of a much larger company, which measures statistics on everything from soap powder to the Olympics, for clients as big as the Disney group to as small as us. There are 4 main components of Nielsen Book Services:
Registration Agency – Supplying unique identifiers for books (ISBNs)
BookData – Providing bibliographic data to publishers, booksellers and librarians
BookNet – Integrating services for electronic book ordering
BookScan – Measuring and analysing sales around the world
We had an overview of all these different aspects and then looked at each one in more detail.
- The first ISBN was used in 1967
- BookData contains 19.3 million English language records and over 12 million images. This includes our titles, stretching all the way back to our first books published in the early ‘80s.
- Booksellers need title information up to 20 weeks before publication so that the data is in their system in time to fit in with their buying cycles. If you submit data too late, booksellers won’t know about the book and won’t place orders for it! This explains why we allow 6 months to publish a book after receiving the final manuscript.
- Submitting additional data such as short and long book blurbs, reviews and author bios makes a huge difference (+55%) to sales
We mostly deal with the BookData part of the company as it is extremely important to make sure we submit accurate and timely bibliographic information so that booksellers have all the information they need to make their purchasing decisions. We are currently in the process of obtaining BIC accreditation which is an award that shows that we adhere to the highest standards of efficiency and accuracy in bibliographic data submission.
After a very tasty lunch we attended break-out sessions where we had the opportunity to speak to the Nielsen team and view product demonstrations.
It was a really useful day meeting people from other publishers as well as having the chance to raise any issues with Nielsen staff who were incredibly friendly and helpful.