Jul 272006

Part 3 of Tim’s State of the Computer Book Industry.

Tim suggests that both Pearson and Wiley lost some market share last quarter, but I won’t be surprised if both companies recapture some of that next year, when and if we see a year of blockbusters. Vista for Dummies can change this chart in a hurry all by itself.

Tim gives the nod to “for Dummies” as the largest imprint (per sales volume) and notes O’Reilly has the largest revenue, but I think that’s a little misleading because there are so many disparate brands in the O’Reilly pantheon (One on One, Head First, Missing Manual, In a Nutshell — I’d almost count those as imprints themselves). Also, it’s also unclear to me if the entire Wiley consumer non-dummies branded books (which are under the same publisher/vp) are included in this calculation.

Despite any erosion, Pearson and Wiley remain the largest publishers in this market by far.

You have to admire O’Reilly’s strategy of “co-optition.” O’Reilly has done a great job of “growth by distribution,” picking up partners like Manning, Pragmatic and No Starch, rather than growing by acquisition. And I like Tim’s very public wooing of APress.

Another interesting point to keep in mind, although the numbers here don’t reflect it, is that Pearson and O’Reilly are partners in Safari, and O’Reilly appears increasingly committed to ebooks as well.

With all these various ventures (and conferences too) O’Reilly has plenty of bets placed all over the board. Considering the topsy-turvy environment of the last few years, I have to think that’s a good strategy.

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