Forecasting, or How to Mine Your Own Business

April 2003
by Brian Jud

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How do you plan for the future? How many books should you print? What income might you anticipate in the next year? From which customers will it come? Wouldn’t it be great to know the answers before you commit to a print run, calculate your annual budget, or plan your marketing strategies?

Proper forecasting can help you resolve these issues so you can run a more profitable publishing company. It can also help you control your inventory costs, time the introduction of new titles, exploit areas of opportunity, decide when to pull or reinforce ailing titles, predict the timing and amount of cash flow, control your expenditures, and adapt to change with new marketing strategies.

The forecasting system outlined here is designed to help you get these benefits. It not only points out the number of books you may sell, but also shows you the customers most likely to buy them in existing and new markets.


Step 1: Begin by determining the source of existing sales for a given period.

Calculate the total purchases by each of your customers. (Hint: Set this up as an Excel file to easily add the rows and columns, and convert the dollars to percentages and then to unit sales.)

Sales — Last Period




Current Bookstore Customers

Distributor A

Wholesaler A

Online Bookstore A



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