New Bowker Statistics Point to Publishing Opportunities

Share the love with other Christian writers


Jadavpur university bookstore

Bowker Books in Print has just issued its preliminary estimates for the total number of books published in the U.S. in 2010. The figures show significant tends in the publishing industry, including self-publishing, in the religion field as well as other genres.

Here are some highlights of the report.

Traditional publishers issued an estimated 316,480 new titles in 2010, up three percent from an initially estimated 302,410 in 2009. Bowker revised the final 2009 numbers upward from the initially estimated 271,851, so the final number for 2009 is now over 11 percent higher. Bowker says the preliminary tally was increased because of the significant number of print on demand titles issued by traditional publishers after last year’s initial estimate.

  • Fiction remained the largest category in traditional publishing, with 47,392 new titles in 2010, followed by juveniles at 32,638, sociology/economics, science, and religion. Major increases were shown in computers (51 percent), science (37 percent) and technology (35 percent). Categories that fell the most – “subject to discretionary spending” – were literature, down 29 percent; poetry, off 15 percent; history, down 12 percent; and biography, off 12 percent. Fiction fell three percent, continuing a decline from its high point in 2007.
  • Self-publishers monitored by Bowker are growing at a rate of over 10 percent per year. CreateSpace led the field, with about 34,000 new titles in 2010. Lulu was in second place with 11,000, followed by Xlibris at 10,700 and AuthorHouse with 8,500 (about 64,000 titles as a group). In 2009, the top five self-publishers, which also included PublishAmerica, accounted for 57,500 new titles. Remember that self-publishers do not use ISBNs for all of their books, so the ISBN-less books are not included in the totals.
  • Bowker did not tally totals for ebook versions of titles. That would not be important if every ebook had a paper title that was counted, but many titles today are being issued as ebooks only. By missing ebooks, Bowker probably understates published counts by six figures. As an example, Barnes & Noble’s PubIt ebook operation, launched in October 2010, already has 90,000-plus digital titles.
  • The explosion of public-domain reprints and self-published works that exist primarily as files promoted on the web – in case someone wants to pay to print one – continued in 2010. These out of copyright books published with ISBNs last year grew to a total of 2.776 million works, well up from 1.033 million such titles in 2009. Bowker’s initial estimate for the number of nontraditional books published in 2009 was roughly 750,000, so the 1.033 million 2009 figure is

Bowker is at the leading edge of book marketing, and these figures show a tremendous increase in independent and self-published books. At the same time, traditional publishers appear to be in a holding pattern with a modest gain of only 3% for the year. The dollar figures for each segment would be revlatory, but those numbers are not available.

Published on: May 22, 2011


Share the love with other Christian writers

1 Response

  1. Tracy says:

    Are you sure that the Bowker data is for the US only? Because ISBN numbers are international, I would assume that the numbers of books are worldwide, not US. Just checking. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy