Some 400–600 personal finance titles are published each year, according to Bowker statistics, making up less than one-fifth of 1% of the publishing landscape. Within that small category, readers can count on consistent favorites such as real estate and money-making advice, as well as other topics that change to reflect the economic times.
Several forthcoming books share the theme of entrepreneurship—especially the books written by and for those who have launched or plan to launch businesses. The timing for such titles seems right: in 2013, about 25 million Americans were starting or running new businesses, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association.
And in the entrepreneurial subgenre, a blockbuster has already emerged this season: Money: Master the Game, by self-help author and entrepreneur Tony Robbins (Simon & Schuster). With more than 150K print units sold in its first three weeks, according to outlets reporting to Nielsen BookScan, Money is at #6 on PW’s Hardcover Nonfiction list this week. (For more on Robbins, see “Why I Write.”)
Robbins’s book is also a bestseller for Hudson Group, which has more than 700 bookstores nationwide in airports and bus and train stations. Hudson targets businesspeople, says Sara Hinckley, v-p of book purchasing and promotions, and tends to focus on books about leadership, management, and sales. Entrepreneurship titles, she says, also sell well.
Hinckley is optimistic about Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World, by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler (Simon & Schuster, Feb. 2015). “We like this one because it’s a big-picture book that could appeal to the movers and shakers who frequent our stores,” she says. The authors’ previous book together, Abundance: The Future Is Better than You Think (S&S, 2012), has sold more than 62K units in hardcover, according to BookScan.
Other forthcoming titles on entrepreneurship include Do the Kind Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately, by Daniel Lubetzky (Ballantine, Mar. 2015), who founded the multimillion-dollar natural foods company Kind Healthy Snack. The book outlines ways to build a business that improves the world, a combination Hinckley says appeals to Hudson’s customers. There’s also Better and Faster: The Proven Path to Unstoppable Ideas, by Jeremy Gutsche (Crown Business, Mar. 2015), founder and CEO of innovation consulting company Trend Hunter. In Better and Faster, Gutsche offers strategies for overcoming psychological traps that can block good ideas.
Innovative thinking and the ability to anticipate trends figure into many successful startups. On Jan. 1, 2014, Colorado became the first state to allow sales of recreational marijuana—and five years earlier, Denver resident Christian Hageseth founded Green Man Cannabis, which won the 2014 U.S. Cannabis Cup, the marijuana industry’s highest award for product excellence. As medical and recreational marijuana becomes legal in more states, business creators can turn to Hageseth’s Big Weed: An Entrepreneur’s High-Stakes Adventures in the Budding Legal Marijuana Business (Palgrave Macmillan, Apr. 2015). In the book, Hageseth describes his experience and predicts how the marijuana industry will develop.
Plenty of guides exist to help people start a business, but those ending a career can find advice in the newly published Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top (Penguin/Portfolio), the latest from Bo Burlingham, an editor at Inc. magazine. He is also the author of Small Giants: Companies that Choose to Be Great Instead of Big (Penguin/Portfolio, 2005), which has sold 55K copies in hardcover and paperback, according to Nielsen BookScan.
Robert T. Kiyosaki, author of 15 Rich Dad Poor Dad books, is tackling entrepreneurship for the first time with 8 Lessons in Military Leadership for Entrepreneurs (Plata, May 2015). Kiyosaki is less interested in the entrepreneurial trend than in the economic conditions that feed it, says Mona Gambetta, director of global publishing for Plata. “He doesn’t have much confidence in employment opportunities—college graduates aren’t finding jobs, people are staying in jobs longer,” she says. The book outlines how military skills such as discipline, leadership, and teamwork apply to those launching business.
Plata is also releasing Kiyosaki’s Second Chance: For Your Money, Your Life, and Our World in January 2015. Paul Otto, assistant business librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library Business and Career Library, says he plans to buy multiple copies of both forthcoming Kiyosaki books for the 58-branch Brooklyn system: “His books fly off the shelves.”
Demand for sophisticated books on speculation practices is also strong, Otto says, among real investors and participants in virtual investment clubs. That high interest makes Dead Companies Walking: How a Hedge Fund Manager Finds Opportunity in Unexpected Places, by Scott Fearon with Jesse Powell (Palgrave Macmillan, Jan. 2015), and Invest with the Fed: Maximizing Portfolio Performance by Following Federal Reserve Policy, by Robert R. Johnson and Gerald R. Jensen (McGraw-Hill, Feb. 2015), sure bets, Otto says. Brooklyn’s business library has also purchased several recent books on the digital currency Bitcoin, but it’s too early to see how they’ve fared. Given customer interest, Otto is adding The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order, by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey (St. Martin’s Press, Jan. 2015), to library shelves.
Holding the Purse Strings
Another trend for spring 2015 is that personal finance titles are targeting women. Such books can prove very successful; for example, Women & Money, by Suze Orman (Spiegel & Grau, 2007), has sold more than 500,000 units in hardcover and more than 110,000 in mass market, according to Nielsen BookScan.
Harlequin, best known for publishing romance novels and women’s fiction, will publish its first personal finance title in February 2015: Rich Bitch: A Simple 12-Step Plan for Getting Your Financial Life Together... Finally. In the book, author Nicole Lapin, who got her start in finance reporting at age 18 and went on to work for CNN, CNBC, and MSNBC, offers “advice for her younger self,” says editor Rebecca Hunt. “She uses her own story, her own mistakes, and what she should have done instead.”
Chellie Campbell, whose previous titles for Sourcebooks include The Wealthy Spirit (2002) and Zero to Zillionaire (2006), is back with From Worry to Wealthy: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Success Without the Stress (Sourcebooks, Feb. 2015).
Other publishers are revisiting older female-centric titles. The Girl’s Guide, by Melissa Kirsch (Workman, Apr. 2015), was originally published in 2006 as The Girl’s Guide to Absolutely Everything and has sold 57,000 to date in paperback, according to BookScan. The chapter on money matters includes updated information on personal finance apps and websites, online banking, selling on eBay and Craigslist, new statistics on student-loan debt, and tips on paying off debt. “Money isn’t about facts, it’s about identity and childhood upbringing and ego and survival,” Kirsch says.
In January 2015, Christian publisher Revell will release The Financially Confident Woman: What You Need to Know to Take Charge of Your Money, by Mary Hunt, an update of a book originally published in 1996 by B&H. Revell acquired Hunt’s backlist and has begun publishing it in revised and updated e-book originals, with print editions to follow. (For more on books exploring the intersection between faith and finance, see “Saving Graces.”)
Brooklyn business library’s Otto says that regardless of the relatively small number of new books on personal finance each season, interest among patrons is always high. “It’s a very important area for us.”
See below for more on the subject of personal finance.Saving Graces: Personal Finance 2014Why I Write: Tony Robbins: Personal Finance 2014Personal Finance Titles: Winter–Spring 2015