May 18, 2022

Bowker Reports U.S. Traditional Print Book Production Dipped Slightly in 2013, Print-on-Demand Experiences Steep Decline

From Bowker:

Production of print books by traditional publishers slowed in the United States in 2013, declining from 309,957 titles in 2012 to a projected 304,912 titles in 2013, according to Bowker.

The two percent decrease reverses the sector’s growth in 2012 over 2011, but points to a relatively stable market for print works despite competition from ebooks. The figures were revealed today in Bowker’s annual report on U.S. print book publishing, compiled from its Books In Print database.

The non-traditional publishing sector had a far more significant decline over 2012.

Its print output for 2013 was projected at 1,108,183 titles, a decrease of 46 percent from its production of 2,042,840 titles in 2012 and a dramatic reverse from its 55 percent growth in 2012 over 2011. The non-traditional sector is comprised primarily of reprint houses specializing in public domain works and by presses catering to self-publishers and ”micro-niche” publications. Their titles are marketed almost exclusively on the web and printed on-demand.

“Traditional print production is holding up relatively well, supporting industry reports that ebook sales growth has been slowing,” said Han Huang, director of product management for Data Licensing at Bowker, ProQuest affiliate. “Though the non-traditional sector dropped significantly, we feel it’s simply a market correction. The huge production that took place from 2010 through 2012 was an unusual period for non-traditional publishing, reflecting higher levels of investment and innovation.”

In traditional publishing, Fiction and Juvenile genres continue to dominate the market, accounting for over 27 percent of new titles and editions in 2013, up slightly over 2012 and driven by growth in Fiction. Sociology/Economics, Science and Religion are the third, fourth and fifth most active genres.

Among the fastest growing genres is Music, which had the largest increase over prior year — up 24 percent over 2012, with a five-year growth rate of 28 percent. Science titles have experienced the most dramatic five-year growth rate – up 33 percent over 2008. The Technology area was third, with a five-year growth rate of 27 percent.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.