Publishing in the Animal World: Going to the Dogs (…and a cat here & there)

From Publishers Weekly: A no-brainer: Americans love their pets. Moreover, they put their money where their hearts are.According to a March 2009 article on, U.S. consumers spent more than $43 billion on food, supplies, medicine, and health care for their pets in 2008, making that business the eighth largest in the country, ahead of the candy and toy industries. Consumers now spend more than $18 billion annually on pet food alone.

Yet publishing in the pets category is not quite the no-brainer it was a few years ago. Even this reliable market is somewhat saturated. St. Martin’s editor Daniela Rapp says, “The sheer number of dog books submitted and published has led to a certain level of fatigue about these projects. This attitude seems to be limited to publishers, the sales force, and buyers for individual accounts and so far hasn’t expanded to the consumer. By now I am familiar with the groan ‘Not another dog book!’ in the sales reports, but in the end these books still find their audience.”

Make no mistake; this category comprises largely dog books, even though cats are more common pets in the U.S. (about 82 million cats to 71 million dogs by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s 2007 count). “Of the animal books we publish, dogs do seem to be the most popular,” says Leslie Stoker, publisher of Stewart, Tabori & Chang/Abrams Image, which will offer photographer Daniel Borris’s Yoga Dogs in March 2011.