Duffy points out that many of the Dummies sports reference
books are written by notable figures, such as baseball legend Joe
Morgan and football Hall of Famer/TV personality Howie Long.
“While the Web makes massive amounts of information
available, much of it is of questionable value,” says Rick Holl-
wedel, consumer division–sales director at Human Kinetics. “In
this environment, well-qualified, well-recognized experts have
as much appeal as they ever did, maybe more. Their books, re-
gardless of format, still attract buyers.”
Authors also drive the success of titles at Triumph Books,
notably the NFL Draft 2014 Preview (April) by Nolan Nawrocki
and Baseball Forecaster and Encyclopedia of Fanalytics by Ron Shan-
dler and BaseballHQ.com (a division of USA Today Sports). “It
is not an accident that many of the most successful sports refer-
ence books are annuals that have been published for decades,”
says senior acquisitions editor Noah Amstadter.
“Nolan Nawrocki’s analysis of draft prospects came to be
respected as the best in
the business. Nolan
directed Pro Football
Weekly’s draft coverage
for more than 10
years,” he explains.
“Ron Shandler was
two decades ahead of
the Moneyball era:
Baseball Forecaster has
You Could Look It Up…
The sports book field is diverse, with reference,
annuals, and instructional playing strong
BY PETE CROATTO
The concept of too much information does not exist in sports.
Forget that the Internet gives sports fans—from the weekend warriors
looking to maximize their workout to the trivia buffs looking to settle a dis-
pute—sports reference books remain relevant, even popular. The sales fig-
ures show instructional guides, annuals, and even almanacs rubbing elbows
with the inspirational narratives and starry biographies.
The March 2 Nielsen BookScan report in the cat- egory of adult nonfiction sports and recreation included at least five baseball annuals, two retro- spectives of the 2012 Super Bowl–winning Se- attle Seahawks, and how-to guides covering everything from bodybuilding to paintball guns.
Publishers aren’t surprised to see those results—for a variety
“People want information, and they want trusted information
from a reliable source,” says Melisa Duffy, brand manager for
the sports titles within the Dummies brand, which is part of
John Wiley. “They want to know the information they get is
accurate and presented in a way that is easy to understand.
We’ve found that customers don’t necessarily just have one question about a sport—they want an encompassing view. Customers want to know the rules and regulations, and they may need
some how-to advice as well. And it is always fun to have a bit
of trivia and history thrown into the content.”
“It is not an accident that many of
the most successful sports reference
books are annuals that have been
published for decades.”
NOAH AMSTADTER, TRIUMPH BOOKS