Bowker Reports Traditional U.S. Book Production Flat in 2009

New Providence, NJ – April 14, 2010 – Bowker, the New Providence-based global leader in bibliographic information, released 2009’s U.S. book publishing statistics today compiled from its Books In Print® database. Preliminary figures from publishers suggest traditional U.S. title output was unchanged in 2009: production of new titles and editions dropped by less than half a percent, from 289,729 in 2008 to 288,355 in 2009.”The data surrounding traditional publishing suggests that the weak economy is still having an adverse effect in what and how much consumers are willing to purchase,” says Bowker vice president Kelly Gallagher. “However, looking at the overall picture, we’re seeing that the face of publishing itself is changing.” A decline in fiction was offset by an increase in tech and finance titles, but the remarkable change comes from the realm of “non-traditional” publishing.

The output of “non-traditional” books grew extraordinarily in 2009. Marketed almost exclusively on the web, these books are primarily on-demand titles produced from reprint houses, which specialize in public domain works, and presses catering to self-publishers and “micro-niche” publications. With Bowker projecting 764,448 titles produced outside its traditional publishing and classification definitions, that makes a 181% increase over 2008 – already a double of 2007’s output. This demonstrated increase marks 2009 as the first year total book production has reached over 1,000,000 units.

Gallagher concludes, “Non-traditional publishing, especially related to print-on-demand, continues to offer new avenues and opportunities to grow the publishing industry. Given the exponential growth over the past three years, it’s showing no signs of abating.”