Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Publishing Stats

Publishers Weekly put out some interesting stats on books, including stats on self-published books. Here are a few:
A staggering 764,448 titles were produced in 2009 by self-publishers and micro-niche publishers…
Taken together, total book [traditional and non-traditional] output rose 87% last year, to over 1 million books.
Other major categories where output rose included children's, up 6%, to 32,348, biography, up 8% to 12,313, and religion, up 6% to 19,310.
… the largest producer of nontraditional books last year was BiblioBazaar which produced 272,930 titles, followed by Books LLC and Kessinger Publishing LLC which produced 224,460 and 190,175 titles, respectively.
You might also be interested in learning that “traditional” books slipped. While the non-traditional titles increased to 764,448, “traditional” titles slipped from 289,729 in 2008 to 288,355 in 2009.

I, for one, don’t take this to mean that traditional books will fade out of existence. We’re in a flux period here where new eReaders are popping up and people are racing to try new things. Ebooks will continue to increase in sales, but I don’t see print books disappearing, at least not in my lifetime. And who knows what new ways the future will bring to read and experience books!
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  1. I million books published in one year; that’s a hell of a lot! Does that include both fiction and non-fiction?

    Some time ago, USA Today had an interesting article about book readers: 25% of the Americans never read books. Less than 5% read classical literature and poetry. The average reader is swallowing 4 books per year.

    Also, according to USA Today, liberals read more books than conservatives. The explanation is that the liberals are more open to discussion and debate, whereas the conservatives want simple slogans; “no more taxes” and “… from my cold dead hand”. The rest is written in the Bible >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  2. Interesting figures! That's a TON of books that came out.

    As long as people are reading, I'm good with it.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  3. As long as more and more people, especially young people, read what does the format matter.
    IF paper books go by the wayside I hope I'm not around to see it.
    Giggles and Guns

  4. Cold as Heaven, I have to say that my husband and I are doing the reading for a lot of those not reading, since we definitely read more than 4 a year.

    I'm with you, Maribeth. I'd just as soon not be around when print books are no longer being printed.

    Elizabeth, it is a mind-boggling number of books!

  5. I wonder what the stats are on children's writers self-publishing? Getting a children's book published here is near impossible. I wonder if this is the reason for the rise in stats, or if it is due to a market shift.

  6. Ironic that more books were published in a year when less people were buying due to the economy.

  7. Interesting stats. It does seem that publishing is in an adjustment period, lots of fluctuation as new venues and opportunities struggle to find their niche, or not.

  8. Stats are constantly coming out. It's really difficult to take them all in and make sense of them all. And you're right, Joanne, everything seems to be in flux.

  9. A million books is a staggering number!

  10. How encouraging to see this publishing growth, particularly in those micro niches.

  11. Wow. I find this very encouraging. I can't imagine only reading 4 books a year. That is mind-boggling.

  12. Karen, it is rather mind-boggling to those of us who are "readers."

  13. When I was a kid I so wanted to read every book in the world. I guess that's an impossible dream. :)

  14. Those stats are staggering. And how does one person with a good product stand out from all those who have less-than-stellar books that they are promoting like mad? As a reviewer, I can't tell you how many books I have received from these small publishers, or directly from an author who used a subsidy publisher, that are so poorly written, I can't even give a decent review. Unfortunately, those books create an atmosphere that is not friendly to any self-pubbed book.

  15. It will be SO interesting to see the balance when all of this settles. It seems like EVERYBODY has so much to learn, coping with the new texture of the playing field.

    Self Publishing has potential, but when everybody and their dog can publish, sorting the great books from the crap is SO HARD.

    Traditional books though, need to see the changes too, though, and do far better at finding some middle ground. (I keep hoping smaller advances and POD might be part of publishing MORE quality books through traditional means, but I'm not holding my breath)

  16. A lot of books published, for sure. No, I don't see traditional books going anywhere anytime soon, but I do feel the traditional model will continue to change and evolve to stay competitive.

    Stats are funny and it depends so much upon what the goal of those gathering the stats are. I don't know, my feeling is just because the book is published doesn't equate success. There are many *niche* pubbed books out there that may be in print or available but due to lack of promotion funds, or even editorial funds will never be more than a book with a author's name on it.

    Having said that, I've seen some small presses that do an excellent job with quality of the books they put out both epub and in print.

    Helen, my hubs and I certainly read more than 4 books a year. I read that many in two weeks and that's with the hectic schedule I have, lol!

  17. Lauri, impossible, but worth trying!

    That's true, Maryann. The agent/editor used to be the filter. Now, there's no editor.

    I thought so, too, Watery Tart. With the big publishers beginning to use POD, they could stop returns. That seemed like a move that could change things, but so far it hasn't.

    Sia, some of us are clearly skewing the stats!

  18. I'd say so, lolol!
    btw, love the new look. :-)

  19. That's a lot of books - wow! It's good to see people are still reading, anyway. Thanks for the interesting stats.

  20. Thanks Sia. I'm now trying out a new look on my website. It's not finished yet. Still in progress.

    Talli, it is good to know people are still reading. If you listened to the news, you'd think the only thing teens read is text messages.

  21. I love the new look also. I see so many stats on this or that in publishing and it is difficult to make sense of it. My children and I are doing more than our share of reading also and though we've all read ebooks we still prefer paper.
    As a writer I try to to think about the statistics or where the technological advances is taking us. I can only write the best book I can and hope from there.

  22. I agree, Susan, we have to write the best books we can. Then we have to get out there and let people know about it.

  23. WOW! That's a lot of self-published books!

  24. Your stats are intriguing and demand reflection on the possible future of publishing. We, alas, are becoming a video age not a reading one. Roland


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