Bowker Releases Preliminary 2010 Annual Books in Production Report (PDF link included)

R. R. Bowker today released preliminary figures for book production during 2010 based on their Books in Print database. Traditionally produced books rose by 5% while non-traditionally produced books rose by an astonishing 169%. Be aware that the non-traditional sector is made up by a vast majority of print on demand publishers issuing public domain titles. This sector does include companies offering self-publishing services for authors like Author Solutions Inc (AuthorHouse, Xlibris, iUniverse etc), Lulu and CreateSpace, but these companies only represent a fraction of the overall output of 2,776,260 titles.

Here is the full press release from Bowker below. (The red colouring of author solutions services is mine.) The full PDF report is linked at the end of the press release and when I get a chance I will go through the figures in more detail and post on them.


Print isn’t dead, says Bowker’s Annual Book Production Report

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

New Providence, NJ – May 18, 2010 – Bowker, the global leader in bibliographic information, released its 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  3,028
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

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 516,517
Lulu Enterprises Inc. 11,127
Xlibris Corporation 10,680
AuthorHouse 8,502


Numbers are gathered as a result of Bowker’s maintenance of the industry’s bibliographic database Books In Print and reported through PubTrack Production Trends Analysis. Books In Print is the only bibliographic database with more than 12.8 million U.S. book, audiobook and video titles. It is widely regarded throughout the publishing industry as the most authoritative and comprehensive source of bibliographic data available worldwide, and has been a trusted source of information in North America for more than 50 years. Audiobooks and e-books are excluded. If changes in industry estimates occur, they will be reflected in a later published report.

About Bowker
Bowker is the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information management solutions designed to help publishers, booksellers, and libraries better serve their customers. The company is focused on developing various tools and products that make books easier for people to discover, evaluate, order, and experience, as well as providing services to publishers that help them better understand and meet the interests of readers worldwide. Bowker is a member of the ProQuest family of companies and is headquartered in New Providence, N.J., with additional operations in England and Australia. For more information, please visit

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