October 20, 2021

New Statistics Available: Bowker Releases Annual Book Production Report

From a Bowker News Release:

Traditional publishing grows a modest 5%, while POD sends print total over a record 3 million

Bowker [has] released their annual report on U.S. print book publishing, compiled from its Books In Print database.  Based on preliminary figures from U.S. publishers, Bowker is projecting that despite the popularity of e-books, traditional U.S. print title output in 2010 increased 5%.  Output of new titles and editions increased from 302,410 in 2009 to a projected 316,480 in 2010. The 5% increase comes on the heels of a 4% increase the previous year based on the final 2008-2009 figures.

The non-traditional sector continues its explosive growth, increasing 169% from 1,033,065 in 2009 to an amazing 2,776,260 in 2010.   These books, marketed almost exclusively on the web, are largely on-demand titles produced by reprint houses specializing in public domain works and by presses catering to self-publishers and ”micro-niche” publications.

“These publication figures from both traditional and non-traditional publishers confirm that print production is alive and well, and can still be supported in this highly dynamic marketplace,” said Kelly Gallagher, vice president of publishing services for Bowker. “Especially on the non-traditional side, we’re seeing the reprint business’ internet-driven business model expand dramatically. It will be interesting to see in the coming years how well it succeeds in the long-term.”

In traditional publishing, SciTech continues to drive growth

Continuing the trend seen last year, science and technology were the leading areas of growth as consumers purchased information for business and careers.  Major increases were seen in Computers (51% over 2009, with an average five-year growth rate of 8%), Science (37% over 2009, with an average five-year growth rate of 12%) and Technology (35% over 2009, with an average five-year growth rate of 11%).   Categories subject to discretionary spending were the top losers, perhaps still feeling the effects of a sluggish economy.  Literature (-29%), Poetry (-15%), History (-12), and Biography (-12%) all recorded double digit declines.  Fiction, which is still the largest category (nearly 15% of the total) dropped 3% from 2009, continuing a decline from peak output in 2007.  Religion (-4%) fell to 4th place behind Science among the largest categories.

Top book production categories:

Rank  Category 2010  2009
 1.  Fiction 47,392 48,738
 2.  Juveniles 32,638 33,028
 3.  Sociology/Economics 28,991 26,904
 4.  Science 21,414 15,608
 5.  Religion 19,793 20,527

Non-traditional Print-on-Demand is concentrated in a handful of houses

[Our Emphasis] In 2008, the production of non-traditional print-on-demand books surpassed traditional book publishing for the first time and since then, its growth has been staggering.  Now almost 8 times the output of traditional titles, the market is dominated by a handful of publishers. In fact, the top three publishers accounted for nearly 87% of total titles produced in 2010.

A look at the top publishers by title output in 2010 shows who is providing this content, primarily through the web marketplace.  SciTech mainstay Springer is the only traditional publisher represented.

Publisher                                              2010 ISBN count

BiblioBazaar

1,461,918

General Books LLC

744,376

Kessinger Publishing, LLC

462,480

Books LLC

54,737

CreateSpace

34,243

Springer

16,517

Lulu Enterprises Inc.

11,127

Xlibris Corporation

10,680

AuthorHouse

8,502

Table: New Book Titles and Edition 2002-2010  (by ISBN Output)

Here’s the Complete Bowker News Release

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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