Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Traditional Book Output Up 5%; Nontraditional Soars

Despite the belief in many quarters that the growth of e-books will mean the death of the printed book, the number of books produced by traditional publishers rose 5% in 2010, to a projected 316,480, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday morning from R. R. Bowker. That number, however, is dwarfed by the growth in output of nontraditional titles, which jumped 169% to 2,766,260. As Bowker notes, the majority of nontraditional titles consists largely or print-on-demand editions of public domain titles. Self-published titles are also included in the figure. Based on the preliminary figures, the combination of traditional and nontraditional books totaled a projected 3,092,740 in 2010, up 132% from 2010.

Similar to trends in 2009, growth among the traditional categories in 2010 was led by the information segments with title output in the computer segment up 51%, science 37% and technology 35%. Segments more more dependent on disposable income had the largest declines in the year with production down in literature (29%) poetry (15%), history (12%), and biography (12%). Production of fiction titles fell 3%, but at 47,392 it still remained the largest segment.

Nontraditional output was dominated by largely reprint houses of public domain titles. BiblioBazaar produced a staggering 1,461,918 books with ISBN numbers last year, followed by General Books, which did 744,376 books, and Kessinger Publishing with 462,480 books. The self-publisher companies were topped by CreateSpace at 34,243, followed by Lulu at 11,127. Two AuthorSolutions divisions were next—Xlibris at 10,680, and AuthorHouse, which produced 8,502 books.

The juvenile category was the largest segment after fiction and production fell 1%, to 32,638 titles; sociololgy/economics production increased 8%, to 28,991, while the 37% increase in science production put output at 21,414. Religion was in fifth spot with 19,793 titles, a drop of 4%.

Since 2002, the production of traditional books as increased 47%, while nontraditional titles rose 8,460%.

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