What's Your Niche?

Moderated by: Robert Labossiere

Niche publishing is an important but poorly understood part of publishing, due in part to its vast range: from the most esoteric (James Joyce’s Ulysses_) and the most banal (user manual for the new Fiat 500). It’s not just that it’s difficult to assess sales; in this realm, publishing doesn’t necessarily conform to trade standards. There may be more of many different things: from flexibility and creativity, to monotony or robotic non-character. Nevertheless, a Book Industry Study Group study (_Under the Radar, 2005) identified these important characteristics of niche publishing:

  • The smaller-publisher segment consists of tens of thousands of companies scattered all across the country.
  • Many of these companies don’t belong to book-industry trade associations, sometimes because publishing is not their primary business.
  • Sales these companies make to buyers overseas are often not included in Commerce Department export totals for book publishing, partly because Commerce tracks only shipments valued at $2,500 or more.
  • Whether or not they are primarily publishers, they tend to sell not only through book trade channels that are routinely tracked and studied but also, and in quantity, through sales channels designed mainly to serve other industries, which the book industry does not monitor.
  • No one outside the book industry has been motivated to aggregate and disseminate sales figures for books in most of these nontraditional channels.


You are invited to bring your stories about niche “off the radar” publishing to this round table. By sharing experiences, we hope to learn from each other how to better understand how this vital “underbelly” of publishing, tender but essential, really works and where (technology-enabled) it might be heading.

  • Publishers Weekly
  • Ingram Content Group
  • codeMantra
  • Impelsys Inc.
  • SPi Global
  • Baker & Taylor
  • Blackboard
  • Bowker
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Innodata
  • Jouve North America
  • MarkLogic
  • Newgen KnowledgeWorks
  • Océ North America
  • Temis
  • Aptara
  • Atex
  • LibreDigital
  • Media Services Group
  • MarkLogic
  • Smashwords, Inc.

For information on exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at the conference, contact Sharon Cordesse at scordesse@oreilly.com

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