Religious Book Publishing in the US Industry Market Research Report Now Available from IBISWorld

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The Religious Book Publishing industry suffered when consumers lost faith in the economy and thus dialed back on their expenses; however, the downturn is expected to reverse as revenue starts to gain back some of its losses through 2018. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has added a report on the Religious Book Publishing industry to its growing industry report collection.

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E-reader popularity and low disposable income caused steady declines in revenue since 2008

According to a 2012 survey on religious beliefs from the National Journal, 78.4% of Americans identify themselves as Christian. With about three out of four Americans claiming such, one might think the Religious Book Publishing industry is poised for ongoing success. Based on data from the US Census Bureau as well as trade group BookStats, IBISWorld expects industry revenue to decrease at an annualized rate of 0.8% during the five years to 2013. Despite an ample US market for Christianity alone, sales of religious books have been hampered by low disposable income, rising product prices and increased competition from substitutes during the period. Paper represents a key input for book publishers of any stripe. “As electronic media gains as a share of overall consumption, be it news websites instead of newspapers or e-book readers instead of traditional books, the paper manufacturing industry has shrunk,” says IBISWorld industry analyst Josh McBee. Company exits have outpaced decreased paper demand, in turn causing demand to exceed supply and drive up the price of paper at an average of 1.9% per year during the five years to 2013. Combined with reduced per capita disposable income during 2009 and an ongoing slow recovery from the ensuing recession, publishers of religious books have faced increased competition from substitutes like online- and digital-only versions of religious publications as well as price-based competition from cheaper imports.

Revenue is expected to decrease 1.6% and total an estimated $1.4 billion through 2013. Although returning per capita disposable income will likely widen the potential for consumers to purchase religious books, it will also increase the potential for purchases of e-readers, smart phone and tablets, devices which all encourage competition from digital-only substitutes. According to McBee, some of the largest companies in the industry have released books meant to be used in conjunction with digital content, but this move only highlights the growing threat that technological advancement poses for publishers. Through 2018, revenue is forecast to increase, but slowly. Although trade in this industry is relatively marginal, the export of religious books to countries with rapidly growing Christian populations and low access to technology, such as Nigeria, presents an opportunity for companies with contacts in such foreign markets.

IBISWorld analysis reveals the Religious Book Publishing industry exhibits a medium level of market share concentration. In 2013, the top-two companies are expected to account for an estimated 63.5% of total industry revenue. HarperCollins is by far the largest US-based religious book publisher, and the recent addition of the Thomas Nelson company to its existing Zondervan holdings further solidified its place as the industry's leader. Meanwhile, the remainder of the industry is composed of small- to medium-sized publishers that operate on a local or regional basis. For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Religious Book Publishing in the US industry report page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

The Religious Book Publishing industry carries out the design, editing and marketing activities necessary for producing and distributing books of a religious nature. These establishments may publish books in print, electronic or audio form. Online-only publishing is excluded (see IBISWorld report OD4579, the E-book Publishing industry).

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
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