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Print Isn't Dead, Says Bowker's Annual Book Production Report

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Press release from the issuing company

NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J., – 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.

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.

Download The Full Statistics Report Here:



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