[Business] What does Amazon say about the state of the scrapbook industry?

I spent a lot of time browsing on Amazon over the weekend (I know, like I don’t already have a big enough stack of stuff waiting to be read, but I just joined Amazon Prime and I’ve got free two day shipping just burning a hole in my pocket!) While I was browsing I noticed some things in the craft & hobby section that didn’t speak very well of the state of the scrapbook industry – especially the publishing segment of it.

Amazon puts up a lot of “bestseller” lists and rankings, and most of my browsing was through those to see what was hot that I might be missing out on. And what did I find related to scrapbooking? Not much.

In the “Home & Garden” section that is the home of the scrapbooking sub-section, the “Top Pre-Orders” List was a total 18 books long. As of my visit on Sunday night, 6 of those books were knitting books,1 was a quilting book, 1 was a clay book, and two were sewing books. (The rest were non-crafts titles.) There were no scrapbooking titles on that list. [These lists are constantly changing so the list may be different if you visit it today, but you get the general idea.]

Before you start thinking that there just aren’t any hot scrapbooking titles coming out in the near future to pre-order, let’s take a look at the bestseller list for the “Crafts & Hobbies” section.

Thanks to the wonders of computers and the data that Amazon tracks, you can get a list of bestsellers in any segment up to a really high numbered list. I looked at the Crafts & Hobbies list down to the 1000th selling book. (No it didn’t take as long as it sounds.)

In the top 1000 craft & hobby bestsellers on Amazon, I found only fourteen scrapbook titles. If you add in cardmaking, you can stretch that number to eighteen. In contrast, you could fill a whole library with the knitting and sewing books that were in that first thousand.

So what was the top ranking scrapbooking book? Congratulations to Becky Fleck, author of Scrapbook Page Maps: Sketches For Creative Layouts, for being the top ranking scrapbooking entry at #25 on the Amazon “Crafts & Hobbies” segment bestseller list. (Watch for a review coming soon of this fabulous book!)

Who else made the top 1000? I had to look a long ways to get to the next scrapbooking book – all the way to #308.

So what can we learn from that list?

Well, first off, it’s a pretty bad sign for the state of scrapbooking (especially the publishing part of it) that only two of those books are even in the top five hundred craft and hobby books. It is another sign that interest in scrapbooking is waning. Judging by the books on Amazon’s lists (and plenty of other signs), knitting is the hot new craft.

But I have to say I’m not surprised. I’ve already seen scrapbook publications start to disappear from my local newstands and from my local bookstores. These lists are just another confirmation (like the Google Trends charts for scrapbooking I wrote about recently) that scrapbooking’s day in the sun is over.

Why are books and magazines especially important? They can play a role in bringing in new customers when people stumble on them in bookstores and newstands. They evangelize for our industry without people having to set foot in a scrapbook or craft store. If someone is browsing in a bookstore or magazine rack, they might just come across one of these publications and become interested in scrapbooking.

We’ve lost ground in the battle for internet searches and bookshelf space…how much longer before we start to lose the battle for shelf space at the major chains?

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