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Book Industry Statistics
Here are some interesting facts and figures about the book industry.
Sources are noted when known. Many of the statistics reference web sites or email addresses. These are the people and organizations that originally published the information. The statistic is not necessarily on the referenced site. Contact the person or organization through the email address or web site for more information on the statistic. Figures are for the United States unless otherwise noted.
Updated: March 1, 2008. This is a growing document. Historic numbers are included for comparison. For newer figures, contact the sources cited.
You may repeat any of these numbers as long as you cite http://BookStatistics.com and the reference, if noted, as the sources. Remember, without this site, you would not have found the statistic.
Book Sales May be Much Greater than Previously Thought
In a report whose findings are sure to be questioned by many in the industry, the Book Industry Study Group has issued a report that says book sales have been seriously underreported. The study, “Under the Radar,” says that approximately 63,000 publishers with annual sales of less than $50 million generate aggregate sales of $14.2 billion.
Jeff Abraham, executive director of BISG, says that while some of that revenue is represented in current industry sales estimates—which puts revenue at between $23.7 billion and $28.5 billion—a significant portion of the revenue is not. Abraham says the discrepancy between the findings of “Under the Radar” and historical industry measurements is that the study tracked sales from companies whose main business is outside of book publishing. The study also found that the majority of sales made by midsized and smaller publishers are made outside of traditional bookselling channels such as non-book wholesalers who serve outlets such as sporting goods stores.
Abraham says he plans to put together an industry task force that will work to find a process that can combine the findings of “Under the Radar” with traditional industry measurements.
-- By Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly. http://www.PublishersWeekly.com
Book sales have always been underreported because smaller presses do not have to report sales.
Remember: Three out of four people make up 75% of the population.
Publishers, Number of
2004: There are 85,000 book publishers. 11,000 publishers purchased new ISBNs in 2004.
6 large publishers (in New York)
The six U.S. conglomerate publishers are
Publishers with 10 active ISBN identifiers: 73,000
Total: 86,641 ISBN blocks issued in the U.S.
There are more than 10,000 non-profit publishers.
--Jack McHugh, 15 July 98. firstname.lastname@example.org
8,000-11,000 new publishing companies are established each year.
2002: 10,000 new publishing companies were established. An increase of 15%.
2003: 10,877 new publishers registered for International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) in 2003, an increase of 226 (2.1 percent) over 2002.
2006: The Top 12 Publishers by revenue were:
2006. Sales amounted to $24.2 Billion. See breakdown.
2006. Net revenues for 2006 were $35.69 billion, up from $34.63 billion in 2005.
Total Holtzbrinck revenue in 2005: € 2.08 billion ($2.70 billion USD).
2008: The retail book business in Canada generates annual sales in excess of $1.5-billion, much of them through one company: 230-store Indigo Books and Music.
Canada: About 50,000 titles are published each year.
627+ Publishers *
(Amounts are in Canadian Dollars)
2007. 31% of adults did not read a single book for pleasure in 2007. (Compared to the U.S. at 27%.)
2007. Last year Brits bought an estimated 338 million books, at a cost of £2,478m. This was 13% higher by both volume and value than five years ago, according to the Book Marketing Limited's latest Books and the Consumer survey.
A. From a survey and Special Report. Early 1988. ©1998 Brenner Information Group. http://www.BrennerBooks.com
1. 54% of small independent publishers are male, 42% are female (3% won’t say).
2. California has 6X the number of small publishers than any other state. This finding is consistent with surveys of other creative professions, including desktop publishers, web publishers and multimedia designers.
3. The most popular business structure is the sole proprietorship—52% of male publishers and 56% of female publishers selected this legal formation.
4. Over 60% operate out of home offices (65% of males, 76% of females)
5. They’ve published an average of 7 titles each.
6. In 1997, they earned an average of $420,000.
7. Half of the high income small publishers earned over $1 million in 1997 working out of home offices.
8. The typical independent publisher (indie) works 50 hours a week. [Many work "half days": 8 am to 8 pm.?]
9. More than 68% do not provide paid vacations.
10. Of the 30% that provide paid holidays, most give six days a year holiday benefit.
11. Over 80% have no pension or retirement program.
12. They produce 4X as many nonfiction titles as fiction titles. Juvenile and poetry are the most popular fiction genres. Self-help, how-to and business lead in the nonfiction categories.
13. Over 60% use Microsoft Word—23% use Word Perfect.
14. Most (47%) use Adobe PageMaker—24% use QuarkXpress.
15. QuickBooks is their most popular accounting software program.
16. Their most popular publishing publications are the PMA Newsletter, Publishers Weekly and the SPAN newsletter.
17. They pay an average of $276.25 for illustration on each book.
18. On average, they pay $465.17 for a simple cover design to as much as $3,533.26 for a complex cover design. Typical cover costs range $450 to $3,000.
19. Book design costs between $10 and $150 an hour.
20. They pay between $5 and $18 per page for interior page layout.
21. The average revenue per employee is $97,713.
22. On average it takes 475 hours to write a fiction title and 725 hours to write a nonfiction title.
22. It takes an average of 531 hours to produce a book—422 hours for fiction, 550 hours for nonfiction.
24. An average of 10 to 15 hours are spent designing a book cover.
25. On average, 61 hours are spent in the editing process.
26. On average, 29 hours are spent producing a news release for a new book.
27. Self publishers spend 52.4% of their book development budget writing a book (23.3% for fiction, 55.5% for nonfiction).
28. Graphic design consumes 13.5% of the budget for fiction titles and 3.7% of the budget for nonfiction titles.
29. Other than writing costs, small publishers spend most of their fiction title development budget in graphic design and illustration (13.5% and 20% respectively).
30. Other than writing costs, small publishers spend most of their nonfiction title development budget on illustration and page layout (7.5% and 8% respectively).
31. Advertising consumes most of the small publisher’s marketing costs (36.5% for fiction titles, 29.8% for nonfiction titles).
B. From a survey conducted by Tom Woll, Cross River Publishing
Consultants in the summer of 2003
Smaller publishers grossed $27 billion.
2004. 94% of the publishers in the US sell less than $1-million of books annually.
2005: 1,000+ publishers use Publishers Assistant bookkeeping software.
Quantity of Publishers by Year
1947: 357 publishers
California is home to 16,787 publishers, far more than any other state and more than double the 7,371 located in New York State.
Books in Print, number of
2006. U.S. title output in 2006 increased by more than 3% to 291,920 new titles and editions, up from the 282,500 published in 2005
2005. Using a new methodology, Bowker reported that there were 282500 books published in the US in 2005, compared to its original estimate of about 175000.
2005. “From 2003 to 2004, the number of books sold worldwide dropped by 44 million. True, there are still 2.3 billion books sold each year, but the bottom line is that people are flocking to the Web, TiVo, cell phone screens, PlayStation Portables and DVDs while buying fewer books.” --Kevin Maney, USA Today, July 18, 2005
2004: 195,000 new titles were published in 2004, up 14% from the previous year. New titles released by the largest trade houses rose just 5.4%. Fiction grew 43%, to 25,184 new books. Non-fiction gains were seen in religion, travel and home-economics. Declines occurred in education, history, science and biographies.
2004: 2.8 million books in print.
2004: English-Speaking Countries Published 375,000 New Books Worldwide.
2003. 173,000 new titles and new editions were published.
2002: The five large New York publishers accounted for 45% of the market (made 45% of the sales-money.) They grossed $4.1 billion.
2004: There are 17 new books published each and every hour of each and every day, meaning that 148,920 books are published yearly in the U.S.
1.5+ million titles are in print (currently available in the U.S.
About 120,000 titles are published each year.
2002: The larger publishers released 5% fewer books, mostly in adult fiction and travel.
The larger publishers decreased output 5% but titles published rose 6% to
However, this number may include sheet music too.
2004: 1,879,000 books are in-print (currently available).
A new book is published every 30 seconds.
Who is publishing how many Books?
78% of the titles published come from the small/self-publishers.
2002: The five large New York publishers accounted for 45% of the market (made 45% of the sales.)
1999: the top 20 publishers accounted for 93% of sales.
2000: 80% of the book sales are controlled by five conglomerates: Bertelsmann (Random House), Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, Time Warner, Disney and Viacom/CBS.
2002: Five large New York publishers had US sales of $4.102 billion and worldwide sales of $5.68 billion.
Nielsen BookScan tracks about 70% of total book sales. See http://www.bookscan.com/
What genres/categories are people buying?
55% Popular fiction
2002: Genres, quantity published.
2005: Book of Mormon has sold 130 million copies. Joseph Smith was the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Smith's original church, founded in 1830, had just six members, mostly his family. Only 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon, the church’s core document, were initially published. Some 130 million copies of the Book of Mormon have since been circulated in 77 languages.
Mysteries, stats on
Graphic Novels/Comic Books including Manga
Copies sold of Maher's biggest book, When You Ride Alone, You Ride with bin Laden:
125,000. See more at
64.6 million Americans read at least one romance novel in the past year.
1638: the first printing press was brought to the Massachusetts
42 (ink) book printers in the U.S.Most are in Michigan.
12 (digital) book printers in the U.S.Most specialize in very short runs (100-1,000 books).
2003: Ingram's LightningSource digitally prints (POD) 70,000 individual books/week.
2006. The average print run per title at LightningSource is 1.8 books.
Some 30 percent of the 200,000 new titles printed last year were printed in quantities of less than 100 units.
Trafford Publishing in British Columbia, exclusively digital and a pioneer in digital book printing, has become the largest book publisher in Canada.
2007. Lightning Source grew from three employees in 1997 to more than 500 today; the company digitally scans about 2,000 books a week and prints 1.2 million books a month. “It took us seven years to print 10 million books,” says Kirby Best as we stroll through the 159,000-sq.-ft. building. “This year we published 10 million books in the first 11 months.”
Most initial print runs are 5,000 copies.
4,986 was the average first press run; second printings averaged 4,776. ---PMA survey of members, 1998. http://www.PMAonline.org
The first print run for a mid-list book by a larger publisher is 10-15,000 books.
A larger publisher must sell 10,000 books to break even.
Larger publishers have shifted their philosophy from a humongous first print run to a market reality run.
“And the book, apparently has real promise: the house has announced a first printing of 350,000, which means that if they’re really printing even a third of that, they’re pretty optimistic.”
2005. Offshoring. China is the leading manufacturer of four-color books. See report.
POD Subsidy Publishers
(Xlibris, Author House, Trafford, iUniverse, et. al.)
For the number of titles published, see
2008: Total number of books sold. See
Xlibris has paid out $1 million in royalties to some 9,000 authors since the company was founded in 1997. (About $111. each.)
Xlibris sold 300,000 of the 9,000 titles published since 1997 (33 sales per title).
Xlibris published 10,269 titles through March 25, 2004. 352 or 3.4% had sold more than 500 copies.
Xlibris grossed $2.5-million in 2000 and should do $8-million in 2004.
iUniverse says their 10,000 titles have sold 750,000 copies (75 copies/title).
Of iUnivers's 17,000 titles, only 84 have sold more than 500 copies.
Only a half dozen of iUniverse's 17,000 titles made it to Barnes & Noble store shelves. This was mainly due to the unattractive discount structure.
More iUniverse figures
Authorhouse claims their 18,500 titles have sold 2 million books (108 books/title).
Book Sales in the U.S.
A successful fiction book sells 5,000 copies.
A successful nonfiction book sells 7,500 copies.
1996: 25.6 billion was spent on books.
2001: $25.4 billion. Trade books (those in bookstores): $6.4 billion, religious $1.3 billion, Professional $4.7 billion, Book Clubs $1.3 billion, and other categories.
2002: Books sales totaled roughly $26.9 billion.
2002: Books sales totaled roughly $26.9 billion.
Trade books up 8.8% to $6.93 billion
Net book sales rose nearly 5% to $23 billion. (??)
Sales of new books are decreasing while the sales of used books are increasing.
One-third of the books sold worldwide are sold in the US.
While the US Population is growing and education levels are rising, book sales are not—due to heavy media competition for leisure time.
A book must move in the stores in six weeks.
The top ten US cities by dollar volume of book sales and number of bookstores are Los Angeles-Long Beach; New York; Chicago; Boston; Washington, Philadelphia; San Francisco; Seattle-Bellevue-Everett;San Jose; San Diego.
In 2001, consumers purchased 1.6 billion books.
2004. Book sales totaled $22.8 billion
2005: Book sales totaled $34.6 billion.
2006. For January through November 2006, net book sales of $8.623 billion were exactly even with the first 11 months of 2005.
From 2003 to 2004, the number of books sold worldwide dropped by 44 million. True, there are still 2.3 billion books sold each year, but the bottom line is that people are flocking to the Web, TiVo, cell phone screens, PlayStation Portables and DVDs while buying fewer books.
2006. Net book sales last year dropped 0.3% to $24.2 billion from $24.26 billion in 2005.
2004. “Of the 950,000 titles out of the 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan sold fewer than 99 copies. Another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies. Only 25,000 sold more than 5,000 copies. The average book in America sells about 500 copies.”
1993-2005 category sales. see
2006: Number of books sold: 659.3 million.
2007: Number of books sold: 692.3 million. For breakdown and explanation, see
2004. Used book sales by category. Nonfiction outsells fiction.
2003: 15 percent of all books for adults and teenagers that were purchased from April to December 2003 were used - an increase of 5 percentage points from the same period in 2002.
Americans bought 150 million old books last year, reports Ipsos BookTrends. Online used-book sales could double and hit $2-billion by 2007 according to Forester Research.
2002: People spent $530 million on used books, 5% of the trade book market. The Internet makes hard-to-find titles easier to locate.
Used books were purchased by one out of ten book buyers in the previous nine months in 2002.
Used books account for $533 million in annual sales; 13% of the units sold and 5% of the total revenue.
2007. Used book dealers. 79% of the used book sellers that sell online at AbeBooks.com are 45 or older and more than 50% have an advanced degree.
11% of used book sellers work more than 50 hours per week, including 9% more than 60 hours.
Book Exports from the US
Entertainment content is the largest U.S. export.
2005-2006. Books shipped to Canada, UK, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Germany, in that order.
$837.5 million in 2001. To Canada, UK, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Singapore, Netherlands, Germany, South Korea and others, in that order.
2003 – 2004. Canada top list again. China’s book manufacturing increases.
2002: $1.68 billion, down 1.8%
263 writers’ conferences are listed at Shaw Guides.
eBook sales increased 1,442% in January 2003 over January 2002.
LightningSource fulfills nearly 1 million eBooks/day.
2004, first quarter. 421,955 eBooks were sold in the first quarter, up 46% over the same period the previous year. Revenue was $32.2 million, up 28%. .
2004, second quarter. eBook sales increased 5% to 390,000 units and revenues increased 23% to $3 million in sales in the second quarter of 2004 over the same period in 2003. Amazon did not report their sales and B&N stopped selling eBooks. 825 new titles were released.
2004, first nine months: Sales were 1.4 million, up 14%. Retailer revenue was $9.5 million, up 20%. The number of new eBooks fell 57% in the third quarter.
70% of book fair visitors are ready to buy electronic books if they can run them on any computer. 67% are ready to read the, 62% would borrow them from a library.
2004. EBOOK PUBLISHERS REPORTED INCREASES in revenue and unit sales over the same quarter the previous year (Q2 2004) with a 36% increase in eBook units sold and a 69% increase in eBook revenues.
2007. FRANKFURT BOOK FAIR SURVEY: Digitization Is a Challenge for the
2003: DVD revenue hit $17.5 billion: $12.1 billion in sales and $5.4 billion in rentals.
More than one-half of all U.S. homes have a DVD player.
2003: people spent 67 hours watching DVDs.
1996: Moviegoer spending: $5.4 billion
2002: Of the $23.7 billion spent on books, only $10.7 billion is spent in bookstores. The non-traditional outlets sell more books.
Book Purchases by Store Type
2007. Chains, Internet dominate bookselling.
2005: 88% of respondents are satisfied with the service from independent stores. Independent stores ranked higher than chain or online stores.
2004: Independent stores increased market share by 2% over the previous year to 18% of the $11 billion U.S. adult fiction and nonfiction book sales.
24.6% Large chain stores
2002: $450 million was spent on general-interest books at big-box stores such as Wal-Mart. That figure is up 7.4% from 2000. Costco and other price clubs are taking market share from the bookstores.
2007. Total revenue from the nation's three major bookstore chains rose 5.6% in the third quarter ended October 31, reaching just under $2.1 billion.
153: Total number of Hastings sto stores
$118 million: Book sales in 2005
2006. Books-A-Million. The company operated 27 traditional stores last year, down from 32 in 2005; in 2002 BAM had 44 traditional stores.
2005. Waldenbooks has 678 stores and gross revenue of $744.8 million
2004. Total revenue at the nation's three largest bookstore chains rose 5.1% in 2004, to $8.81 billion.
Borders has 450 stores in the U.S.
Books-A-Million is the #3 chain with 200+ stores
2002: Borders opened 41 super stores for a total of 404.
2004. Borders revenue increased 19% for $3.89 billion in sales.
Barnes & Noble plans to open 30-35 new stores in 2004.
2003 gross sales
2002 gross sales:
2001 gross sales:
Borders held a Publisher Summit on Friday February 25, 2005. Mike Spinozzi, Exec VP & CMP of BGI, was the primary presenter, giving an overview of BGI's business for 2004 and initiatives for 2005. Here is a brief summary as reported by Sue Frank Ostfield, Director of National Accounts, Publishers Group West.
Number of books sold online in 1999: 57 million.
In 2000, online sales were 5-10% of total book sales. 40% were fiction.
Amazon book sales by year
Making #2 at Amazon.
Thereafter, sales of only 100 a day or thereabouts were needed to maintain it there! I suspect this has to do with the algorithms Amazon uses to prevent wild fluctuations of the list.
Amazon.com is Bantam-Doubleday-Dell’s third largest customer.
2001. Amazon.com sells 5% of all books for $3 billion. Amazon.com is ranked among the top 50 brands in the world.
2002: Online bookstores sold 10% of the books.
Amazon had 35.9 million visitors in May 2003.
BarnesAndNoble.com had 7.9 million
The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2003
2005. Powell's has thus become the third largest online retailer of books in this country.
Men buy more books than women.
2007. Media sales, which include book sales, rose 29% last year in Amazon's North America media segment, hitting $4.63 billion.
Worldwide media sales rose 31% in the year, to $9.24 billion.
2008: MORE BOOKS SOLD ON THE INTERNET THAN ANY OTHER PRODUCT and the number is increasing. Polling company Nielsen Online surveyed 26,312 people in 48 countries. 41% of internet users had bought books online. 58% of those online in Korea had purchased books online. In the U.S., 57.5-million had purchased books online.
American Booksellers Association (The independent bookstore organization). The chain stores are replacing the independents.
2004: American Booksellers Association membership is down to 1,885 stores. It was 4,700 in 1993.
ABA membership was 5,132 in 1991. It fell to 4,047 in 1998.
Since 1993, ABA membership has dropped from 5,100 to 3,500 because the independent stores have been driven out of business.
ABA membership declined to 2,800 stores.
Only 100 stores joined the ABA in 2001 while 250-300 stores closed.
In April 2003, bookstore membership dropped 9% from a year earlier.
Everyone judges a book by its cover.
On the average, a book store browser spends eight seconds looking at the front cover and 15 seconds looking at the back cover.
Sales Reps show covers or jackets and give a sales pitch that averages 14 seconds.
Types of Covers Preferred by Readers of romance novels:
2007. There are an estimated 117,467 libraries nationwide, representing public, private, academic and specialized libraries.
The library market was $3-billion in 1993.
90% of the 15,000 public libraries in the US order (some) of their books through Baker & Taylor and spend more than $444 million on books annually.
Libraries lose 20% of their books each year. Some books get past the security devices and others are just not returned.
There is no "standard" rate of book loss
2007. 13% of books missing at Library of Congress.
--Chicago Tribune Magazine, May 31, 1998.
The first ABA convention was in 1901.
The first ABA book fair was in 1947. For many years it was in the basement of the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.
ABA/BEA Book Fair attendance was:
In 2001, there were 2000 exhibitors
2003 BEA Survey
2005. BEA Book Fair
The Frankfurt Book fair has 9,000 exhibitors.
Larger publishers send 2-3 acquisition editors to attend book fairs and otherwise canvas the country for previously (self) published books.
75% of the floor space at the 1999 BEA book fair in Los Angeles was occupied by small presses and self-publishers.
Christian Booksellers Association Book Fair Attendance:
--Christian Booksellers Association reported in Publishers Weekly,
And see Writers and Authors http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2002/digest2001/tables/dt425.asp
Global piracy losses to the U.S. book publishers estimated at $650.8 million in 2001.
Writers and Authors
Peachtree Publishers, one of the last publishers in the nation to accept unsolicited manuscripts from would-be authors, receives 20,000 to 25,000 manuscripts per year for review--of which they publish on average 20.
Santa Barbara has at least 384 published book authors. The population of the South Coast is about 175,000.
Subscribers to Writer's Digest magazine. Who are these 148,000 writers?
25% are working on fiction or poetry.
Each averages 12.6 hours/week writing.
The average (mean) Writer’s Digest subscriber is:
Writer’s Digest Book Club members
Retail Book Buyers/Readers
Women buy 68% of all books.
Men buy more books than women.
The median household income for book buyers is $41,600, compared to $35,300 for all adults.
Men are more likely to shop in chain stores than women. Women are more likely to shop in discount stores and supermarkets than men.
$1.7 billion is spent annually on textbooks. $78 billion is spent on alcohol, $37 billion on cigarettes and $6 billion on pet food.
In the U.S., 40-million people move their residence each year. This makes keeping up with address changes an expensive challenge.
How much do people like to pay?
Word of mouth top seller of books. According to The Independent, "Publishers can spend a fortune promoting their hottest literary discoveries. Bookshops can deploy all their marketing ingenuity to produce imaginative displays. But when the book-buying public comes to choose a new read, it is word of mouth that counts." Next comes author loyalty. See
Who is Reading Books (and who is not)
Be wary of statistics on reading. Numbers will vary depending on how the question is phrased. When asked if THEY read books, many people will inflate the figure to appear knowledgeable and scholarly.
“40% of people admit to lying about having read certain books, according to a study published last year by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.”
Most literate cities in the U.S.
This is the overall ranking for each city. A total score was tallied for each city across six different literacy categories: Booksellers; Educational attainment; Internet Resources; Library Resources; Newspaper Circulation; and Periodical publications. All categories were compared against the city's total population. See "Rank by Category" for more detailed results.
One person in three has purchased a book just to look intelligent.
2007. BOYS FALL BEHIND IN READING. The debate over whether boys are falling behind and in crisis has raged for years among academics, educators and writers. Reading remains one of their top concerns. See
Kids’ reading drops at age 8.
2007. RECREATIONAL READING IS DOWN ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS. “We've got a public culture which is almost entirely commercial- and novelty-driven," says NEA chairman Dana Gioia.
1993-2003: The number of titles published increased 58% while fiction readers declines 14%,
2004. 56.6% of adult Americans said they read at least one book, fiction or non-fiction, between August 2001 and August 2002 compared to 60.9% ten years prior.
The number of adults engaged in reading literature--defined as novels, short stories, plays and poetry, and a focus of the study--was 46.7% in 2002, down from 54% in 1992 and 56.9% in 1982.
Since 1982 literary reading fell in virtually all groups and segments. By age, the rate of decline is steepest among young adults, with the percentage of 18 to 24 year olds that describe themselves as reading literature falling to 42.8% in 2002 from 59.8% in 1982. The percentage of 25 to 34 year olds fell from 62.1% in 1982 to 47.7% in 2002.
While women still read more literature than men, that percentage fell to 55.1% in 2002 from 63% in 1982. The study also found that only 37.6% of men read literature in 2002, down from 49.1% in 1982.
Although the percentage of Hispanics and African-Americans that read literature declined between 1982 and 2002, because of the increase in population the number of those readers actually rose. The gain is particularly striking among Hispanics, with the study finding that the number of Hispanic adult readers totaled 6 million in 2002, up from 3.4 million in 1982 and 5.2 million in 1992.
2002. 57% of the US population read a book. See report.
Most readers do not get past page 18 in a book they have purchased.
2001: People in the U.S.
read an average of more than 14 books each year.
63% of adults report purchasing at least one book during the previous three-month period. (Most were probably exaggerating).
53% read fiction, 43% nonfiction. The favorite fiction category is mystery & Suspense, 19%.
Of the top fifty books, fiction outsells nonfiction about 60% to 40%.
55% of fiction is bought by women; 45% by men.
70% of Americans haven't visited a bookstore in five (5) years.
Customers 55 and older account for more than one-third of all books bought.
People reduced their time reading between 1996 and 2001 to 2.1 hours/month.
Only 32% of the U.S. population has ever been in a bookstore.
The time Americans spend reading books.
Consumers spent $19.5 billion on books in 2003, up from $18.8 billion in 2002. It forecasts a 1.9% growth rate through 2008. It was 2.9% during the previous
2001: Households purchasing at least one book
1996 to 2001
The mean age of book buyers
1997: Age over 55: 33.7% of the books bought.
1992: 76.2 million adults I the U.S. did not read a book.
2002: 89.9 million adults I the U.S. did not read a book.
"Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half have never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half."
Internet users are more likely to cut back on reading books than to curtail their magazine consumption
Mass-Media Use by Consumers, 1996.
Hours spent per year:
Readers of In-Flight Magazines.
--Contact information for most of the 21 magazines has changed in the last year and a half.
1859: The first self-help book was published by John Murray Publishers. Written by Samuel Smiles, the title was Self-Help: with illustrations of character and conduct.
U.S. self-help books sell very well in Australia, moderately
well in Japan and poorly in Britain. The majority of self-help books are purchased by women.
5,000 novels, 200 first novels and 100 scripts are purchased each year.
Eighty percent of the books published by major houses come through agents.
Many advances are between $1,500 and $7,500.
A typical advance for a computer book is $10,000.
Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf received an advance of more than $5 million from Bertelsmann; Gen. Colin Powell got $6.5 million from Newhouse, Former O.J. pall Paula Barbieri got $3.5 million from Time Warner.
Large advances for books that flopped: Journey to Justice by Johnnie Cochran, Balentine paid a reported $3.5 million; Behind the Oval Office by Dick Morris, Random House paid an estimated $2.5 million; Leading with my Chin by Jay Leno, HarperCollins paid a reported $4 million.
The average royalty is 10.7% of net.
2007. Reviewers and reviewing ethics. See
LA Times receives 600 to 700 books for review each week.
1999-2000. Book review media statistics.
"We put up a dictionary in 1996, free for everyone and knowing that words people look up fascinate us. The web site has helped the company reinforce its brand with a 17% increase in sales.
Bestsellers accounted for 3% of the sales at Barnes & Noble in 1997.
64% of book buyers say a book’s being on a bestseller list is not important.
Last spring (1999) an uneasy Authors Guild, which had spent more than a year looking into these trends, released its report on midlist publishing. It laboriously toted up the figures for the top fiction and nonfiction titles on the Publishers Weekly annual bestseller list, then showed how those 30 megabooks suck up a growing proportion of sales. In 1986, the bestsellers accounted for about 7 percent of all adult hardcover trade book sales; a decade later they accounted for 13 percent. In 1999, applying the same methodology, the proportion reached nearly 15 percent.
In 1975, the bestselling book was E.L. Doctorow's "Ragtime. It sold 232,000 books.
Nearly all bestsellers come from five publishing conglomerates.
2002 Bestsellers by Corporation
2005: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The book's record first printing is 10.8 million copies; the audio will have a record first printing of 635,000 copies. Two weeks prior to the release date of July 16, B&N.com had sold more than 750,000 copies; Amazon.com has sold more than 725,000 through yesterday
2003. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling.
2003. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling.
Harry Potter Bestsellers
Prices of Harry Potter books
2007. For more Harry Potter numbers, see
Lemony Snicket numbers.
For bestseller lists between 1900 and 1995, see
Some bestsellers do not make the lists.
2006. the blogosphere has doubled every six months for the last three years. That's 175,000 new blogs per day worldwide. Technorati added its 50 millionth blog on July 31, 2006.
HAVE BLOGS PEAKED AT 29-MILLION? See
2005. iTunes offers 15,000 podcasts and listeners have signed up for 7 million podcasts.
Books are displayed in bookstores for one selling season of four months. Those books that do not sell are returned for a refund. Yes, books may be "gone today, here tomorrow."
2003. 34% of adult hardcover books are returned to publishers.
Barnes & Noble had a return rate of 28% for all categories of books in 1996 and 19% in 1997.
A return rate of 15% is considered very good.
35% worth of the adult hardcovers shipped to retailers in 1996 were returned in 1996 according to the AAP. The rate was 32% in 1995.
Sell-Through. Independent stores sell over 80% of the books they order. Superstores sell 70% of the books they order.
The industry return rate is 36.3% for hardcover and 25% for soft. B&N returns 19%.
2002: 37% of the books sent to stores were returned.
Harper-Collins lost more than $250 million in a single year just on returns.
Up to 40% of all books manufactured never sell. Most publishers would rather suffer the costs of over-runs and returns than run short of a title.
"Top 10 Reasons To Love Small Business, " as proposed by our friends over at the Office of Advocacy of the SBA.
10. Small businesses make up more than 99.7% of all employers.
9. Small businesses create more than 50 percent of the nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
8. Small patenting firms produce 13 to 14 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.
7. The 22.9 million small businesses in the United States are located in virtually every neighborhood.
6. Small businesses employ about 50 percent of all private sector workers.
5. Home-based businesses account for 53 percent of all small businesses.
4. Small businesses make up 97 percent of exporters and produce 29 percent of all export value.
3. Small businesses with employees start-up at a rate of over 500,000 per year.
2. Four years after start-up, half of all small businesses with employees remain open.
1. The latest figures show that small businesses create 75 percent of the net new jobs in our economy.
It's true: Small business is the heart of the American economy. And it's why I really do love small business owners.
--Jim Blasingame, The Small Business Advocate,
Computer Operating Systems. Windows v Mac
Mac usage in book publishing is slightly higher due to the historically better handling of graphics.
2006. Windows has almost 97% of the desktop market.
Other Sources for Statistics
The American Booksellers Association (bookstores).
American Statistical Association
Association of American Publishers
Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)
Association of Research Libraries
The Book Industry Study Group maintains a list of statistical research sources.
Bowker’s industry statistics
British Statistics. See
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bureau of Transportation statistics
Business Communications Company (BCC)
Business Trends Analysts.
Canadian book-industry figures
CIA Fact book download
An independent, nonpartisan resource on trends in American public opinion.
Independent publishers. The Publishers Marketing Association.
Information Technology Industry Council
The International Publishers Association tries to collect figures but they are incomplete and not very accurate. See
Market Data Retrieval
National Archives and Records Administration
National Center for Education Statistics
National Center for Health Statistics
State & County QuickFacts
Statistics on the Web
Subtext/open Book Publishing
United Nations Statistics
United States Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau.
US Census Bureau
Veronis, Suhler & Associates
World Wide Web Virtual Library: Statistics
World statistics—updated in real time. Watch the numbers grow.
Questions about the book publishing industry?
© Dan Poynter, 2008