Friday, January 05, 2007
News on Data-Gathering for Bestseller List
Sigh. The topic that never quite goes away.
The January 1 issue of Christian Retailing reports that the data-gathering boondoggle between CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) and ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) is inching closer to a “merger agreement.” Let’s hope so. When these two organizations come to terms on this issue, perhaps we can finally have more accurate bestseller lists.
Background, for those who have joined us lately: Last November 15, during a four-parter on bestseller lists in both the Christian and secular markets, I ran a letter I wrote to CBA, questioning what was happening with our industry’s data-gathering that comprises the lists, and the CBA spokesperson’s response. (Paraphrase of that response: yes, we are working on it; look for news from CBA Advance in January.) These November posts were a follow-up to my series of posts on the subject beginning May 6 of last year. In that series I explained our industry’s various data-gathering mechanisms: ECPA’s STATS; CBA’s new answer to it, called CROSS:SCAN; and ECPA’s back-atcha answer to that in the form of PubTrack, a service originally scheduled to launch June 2006. PubTrack was supposed to be an advanced version of STATS that “includes security measures intended to allay retailers’ fears about shared data,” according to Christian Retailing.
But PubTracks never launched. The Christian Retailing article says it was delayed while talks between CBA and ECPA continued. Representatives from both organizations met in November. Mark Kuyper, ECPA President, is reported as saying that the two groups are “closer to an agreement than we have ever been.” However, apparently more negotiations are still needed.
The article doesn’t mention anything being announced at Advance, which begins January 27 in Indianapolis. So perhaps the letter I received from CBA hinting at such is the most recent word on the subject. We’ll see. Meanwhile, the January fiction bestseller list, reflecting sales in the month of November, was just posted in the last day or two. This list is still based on STATS, to which many stores don’t report, and once again it’s so late. (Do they really need to take five to six weeks to compile data from November sales?)
I won’t be attending Advance, but I will be listening for word on any more news. I would sure love to see this issue resolved. If any of you BGs knows anything more on this subject … do tell.