Publishing KPIs

KPI Performance Key

Your business may just be beginning to track this metric, perform this business function or identified this as a problem. Improved execution in this area should be a high priority.

Your business is competitive in this area, but there’s still room for advancement. Consider investments to improve related operations to achieve better results.

Your performance in this area is considered best in class and is superior to the average company in your sector. You’ve laid a solid foundation in this business function, and the next step is optimization.

You’re achieving the optimal results for this metric. Your business processes in this area are highly efficient and stand out against competitors. Keep investing in this area to maintain these results.

Top Performers

Gross Profit Margin

Gross Profit Margin is ultimately the most critical metric for a publisher to track. Although it may seem like the introduction of new digital technology would have detrimental effects on the publishing industry, instead it has given publishers a great opportunity to expand margins. eBooks, for example, don’t carry some of the costs of a printed book (paper, ink, binding, physical distribution, etc.).

25.9%
Foundational
32.7%
Competitive
49.3%
Best in class
59%
Transformative

Publishing Fill Rate

Publishing

97%

Average Order Fill Rate

Source: Finlistics

Left Quote
72% of publishers plan to actively experiment with artificial intelligence (AI)”

Source: Reuters Institute

Distribution Cost as a % of Revenue

The publishing industry incurs high fixed costs, including compensation to authors, editing, design and marketing. As a result, it’s important to keep the distribution costs as low as possible to maintain acceptable margins. For traditional publishing methods, including hardcover and softcover publications, distribution costs include shipment to retail locations through internal distribution mechanisms or via a third-party distribution channels. The cost of digital distribution for publications like eBooks includes the cost of making titles available on various online marketplaces.

> 9%
Foundational
9%
Competitive
7%
Best in class
5%
Transformative

Revenue Growth

To stay afloat in today’s competitive publishing landscape, revenue growth is dependent on adapting business models to incorporate the myriad of ways consumers access content today. Many publishers are still relying solely on traditional revenue streams, while others have embraced the change, introducing new sources of revenue like eBooks, podcasts, online subscriptions, etc. Revenue growth is a key metric that differentiates the publishers that are on the forefront of these changes from the publishers still dependent upon traditional revenue streams.

0%
Foundational
.14%
Competitive
4.3%
Best in class
8.5%
Transformative
Foundational
Competitive
Best in class
Transformative

Revenue
Growth

0%

.14%

4.3%

8.5%

Revenue Growth

This metric indicates the rate at which your company’s total revenue is growing.

Marketing Spend
(% of Revenue)

> 3.1%

3.1%

2.6%

2%

Marketing Spend
(% of Revenue)

A measure of the percentage of revenue that goes towards marketing expenses. Smart use of marketing dollars means efficiency and higher profit margins.

Gross Profit
Margin

25.9%

32.7%

49.3%

59%

Gross Profit Margin

Percentage of revenue after cost of goods sold. This metric signifies how efficiently your company uses its resources to publish content profitably.

Days Sales
Outstanding

97 days

64 days

52 days

40 days

Days Sales Outstanding

How many days, on average, it takes your customers to pay invoices. The lower this number is, the better. Also called DSO or Days Receivable, it is a financial ratio that illustrates how your receivables are being managed.

Spend Under
Contract

Decentralized buying

30-50%

50-80%

> 80%

Spend Under Contract

The percentage of procurement spend managed by a contract. Purchasing goods and services using pre-negotiated contracts typically allows for better price negotiation. The higher this percentage, the more likely that your company is saving money on goods and services.

Distribution Costs
(% of Revenue)

> 9%

9%

7%

5%

Distribution Costs
(% of Revenue)

The cost of shipping goods from the manufacturer to the end sales location. This typically includes shipping cost as well as warehousing carrying costs to hold inventory until it is shipped to its final destination.

Customer Service
Responsiveness

> 1 day

> 7.7 hours

< 6 hours

Real-time

Customer Service Responsiveness

This metric indicates the average time it takes to respond to customer issues. A lower response time drives more efficiency, freeing labor time for more valuable tasks or reducing the need to hire additional staff.

Finance FTE per
$50M Revenue

> 3.5 FTE

3.5 FTE

2.7 FTE

1.8 FTE

Finance FTE per $50M Revenue

A calculation of how many FTE (Full Time Equivalent) Finance department resources are required for each $50M in revenue earned.

IT FTE Per
$50M Revenue

> 4 FTE

4 FTE

2.9 FTE

1.8 FTE

IT FTEs Per $50M Revenue

A calculation of how many FTE (Full Time Equivalent) IT department resources are required for each $50M in revenue earned.

Source(s): Finlistics

Other Categories
This metric indicates how fast your company is growing, measured by total revenue. The higher this percentage is, the faster your revenue growth.
A measure of the percentage of revenue that goes towards marketing expenses. Smart use of marketing dollars means efficiency and higher profit margins.
Percentage of revenue after cost of goods sold. This metric signifies how efficiently your company uses its resources to publish content profitably. The higher the percentage, the better.
How many days, on average, it takes your customers to pay invoices. The lower this number is, the better. Also called DSO or Days Receivable, it is a financial ratio that illustrates how your accounts receivable are being managed.
The amount of procurement spend managed by a contract. When you purchase goods and services, using pre-negotiated contracts covering a year or more typically allows for better price negotiation. The higher this percentage is, the more likely that your company is saving money on goods and services.
The cost of shipping goods from the manufacturer to the end sales location. This typically includes shipping cost as well as warehousing carrying costs to hold inventory until it is shipped to its final destination.
This metric indicates the average time it takes to respond to customer issues. A lower response time drives more efficiency, freeing labor time for more valuable tasks or reducing the need to hire additional staff.
A calculation of how many FTE (Full Time Equivalent) resources managing the Finance department are required for each $50M in revenue earned.
A calculation of how many FTE (Full Time Equivalent) resources managing the IT department are required for each $50M in revenue earned.
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