The launch of C&T Publishing’s Stash Books imprint in early spring 2010 was a key factor in driving up sales last year at the Concord, Calif., craft and quilting book publisher, and the new imprint, aimed at a younger audience than C&T’s usual customers, continues to do well in 2011. C&T has gone back to press on 10 of Stash’s books so far this year (with Fresh Fabric Treats and The Practical Guide to Patchwork the top-sellers), and sales to the book trade are up 16% this year after a 47% increase in 2010 led by the new imprint.
The entree Stash has given C&T into the traditional book marketplace, where it is distributed by NBN, has helped to offset some softness in sales to independent quilting shops, which, C&T publisher Amy Marson observed, are facing some of the same problems as indie bookstores. “There’s online competition, traffic is down, and a lot of shop owners are older and it’s not clear who will replace them when they retire,” Marson said. Sales to craft and quilting chains are up, however, and business overall is ahead by about 10%.
In addition to Stash, C&T is benefiting in 2011 from various digital initiatives; the company has 300 e-books in print, has released its first apps, and has seen sales from print-on-demand titles jump 80%. The company is also expanding its international reach. It attended the London Book Fair for the first time this spring and sold foreign rights to five titles. “This is a new avenue for us,” Marson said. A rep group attended the Frankfurt Book Fair for C&T, but Marson expects C&T to return to London next year to look for additional rights sales and ways to expand sales into more international markets.
The company’s newest initiative is PatternSpot.com, a Web site where quilt designers post patterns that can be bought directly by consumers. Launched in late August, PatternSpot not only gives C&T a portion of the revenue from pattern sales but also lets the publisher watch trends develop. Purchases have followed a seasonal track since PatternSpot debuted. “Right now the Halloween patterns are very popular,” said Megan Scott, C&T’s publicity manager.
The sale of patterns directly to consumers is part of C&T’s overall strategy to add more nonbook items to its mix. The company’s gift line now includes postcards and notebooks, journals, calendars, and bags.
C&T will publish 10 Stash titles next spring, up from seven in spring 2011. Among the fall titles coming out from the imprint are Modern Quilting Designs and A Field Guide to Fabric Design.