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Statistics on Books & Publishing

Dan Poynter

Book Industry Statistics

For statistics on the Professional Speaking industry, see
For statistics on the Parachute/Skydiving industry, see

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 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.

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
2008. The Six Sisters. There are six large publishers.
Bertelsmann, CBS Corporation, Hachette, News Corporation, Pearson and Verlagsgruppe.

2004: There are 85,000 book publishers. 11,000 publishers purchased new ISBNs in 2004.

6 large publishers (in New York)
3-400 medium-sized publishers
86,000 small/self-publishers

The six U.S. conglomerate publishers are
1. Random House, Inc.
2. Penguin Putnam Inc.
3. HarperCollins
4. Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings
5. Time Warner
6. Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Four are foreign owned

Publishers with 10 active ISBN identifiers: 73,000
Publishers with 11-199 active ISBN identifiers: 11,837
Publishers with 200 or more active ISBN identifiers: 1,804
--PMA Newsletter, September 2003

Total: 86,641 ISBN blocks issued in the U.S.
Some publishers have more than one ISBN block. So, there are probably more than 80,000 publishers.

There are more than 10,000 non-profit publishers.

      --Jack McHugh, 15 July 98.

8,000-11,000 new publishing companies are established each year.

2002: 10,000 new publishing companies were established. An increase of 15%.
--Publishers weekly, June 2, 2003.

2003: 10,877 new publishers registered for International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) in 2003, an increase of 226 (2.1 percent) over 2002.
--R.R. Bowker, May 27, 2004.

2006: The Top 12 Publishers by revenue were:
Reed Elsevier, Pearson, Thomson, Bertelsmann, Wolters Kluer, McGraw-Hill Education, Reader’s Digest, Scholastic, De Agostini Editore, Holtzbrinck, Gr. Planeta.
--Publishers Weekly, August 6, 2007

(Also see Book Sales in the US, below)

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).

Other countries

Sales: A$1.26 billion (USD $820 million)
Sales of title originating in Australia: A$747.7 million (USD $486 million)
Sales of imported titles: A$512.9 million (USD $333.4 million)
Value of exports: A$162.5 million (USD $105.6 million)
Largest export markets: U.S. 34%, New Zealand 16%, U.K. 14%
--Australian Bureau of Statistics study of 228 publishers, 2000-2001.


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 *
$2.4 billion in Revenue
Up 9.4% from 1998—99
Published 27,797 titles. Up 13%.
15,744 original
12,053 reprints
Government grants to publishers. $48 million
Exported books. $154.8 million
Foreign Rights. $313 million.

(Amounts are in Canadian Dollars)
--Publishers Weekly
These figures are most likely underreported.

2007. 31% of adults did not read a single book for pleasure in 2007. (Compared to the U.S. at 27%.)
Of the reading Canadians, most read more than 20 books during the year. (Same in the US).
Regional book count: BC-33 titles, Atlantic Canada-22 , Ontario-19, Alberta-18, Quebec-16 and Manitoba/Saskatchewan-15.
--Ipsos Reid Survey

United Kingdom

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.
BBC News,

China publishes around 200,000 new titles and new editions a year. It is by far the largest publishing market by volume - officially about 6bn units a year, but many more when pirated copies are taken into account. In terms of value the market will probably amount to around £4-5bn in 2007, which would put it fourth in the world - behind the US, Germany and Japan and ahead of the UK.


A. From a survey and Special Report. Early 1988. ©1998 Brenner Information Group.

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

• 73,000 smaller and newer publishers grossed $29.4 billion.
• Sales increased 21% annually from 1997-2002.
     Based on those publishers with 1-10 titles in print.
• Including publishers with 11-99 active titles, the revenue jumps to $34.3 billion.
• Smaller publisher are not represented in traditional industry figures.
• 70% of the publishers reported sale less than $100,000.
•43% had been in business more than five years; 20% for more than 10 years.
• Most had print runs of 2-5,000 copies.
• The greater the number of titles, the greater the reliance on wholesalers and distributors for reaching bookstores.
--Publishers Marketing Association,

Also see

Smaller publishers grossed $27 billion.
--Don Tubesing, PMA president. June 2004.

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.
--Steve Carlson, Upper Access in the Se-f-Publishers Listserv. May 2005.

Quantity of Publishers by Year

1947: 357 publishers
1973: 3,000 publishers
1980: 12,000 Publishers. The New York Times, February 23, 1981.
1994: 52,847 publishers. Books in Print.
2003: About 73,000 (plus those who publish through POD/DotCom publishers; they use the publisher's ISBN block.)
2004: 85,000 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.
--R.R. Bowker, May 27, 2004.

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.
--R.R. Bowker as reported in The Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2004.

2004: English-Speaking Countries Published 375,000 New Books Worldwide.
U.S. Book Production Reaches New High of 195,000 Titles

2003. 173,000 new titles and new editions were published.
New titles from the largest trade houses increased 2.4 percent, to 22,914, while total output from university presses declined by 2.2 percent, to 12,003.
--R.R. Bowker, May 27, 2004.
So, 80% of the titles came from the small or self-publishers.

2002: The five large New York publishers accounted for 45% of the market (made 45% of the sales-money.) They grossed $4.1 billion.
Publishers Weekly, June 16, 2003.
So 55% of the sales (income) are made by the small/self-publishers.

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.
--Book Industry Study Group, Trends Report..

1.5+ million titles are in print (currently available in the U.S.

US: About 120,000 titles are published each year.

2002: The larger publishers released 5% fewer books, mostly in adult fiction and travel.
Travel books were down in response to the economy and 9/11.
Title output was up 5.8% overall for a total of 150,000 titles
University press titles were up 10% over 2001.
--Publishers weekly

2002: The larger publishers decreased output 5% but titles published rose 6% to 150,000.
--R.R. Bowker in Publishers weekly, June 2, 2003.

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.
--Rosemary Goring in The Herald, October 11, 2004.

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.)
--Publishers Weekly, June 16, 2003.

1999: the top 20 publishers accounted for 93% of sales.
--Andre Schiffrin, The Business of Books in the Washington Post.
October 18, 2000.

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.
--Andre Schiffrin, The Business of Books in the Washington Post.
October 18, 2000.

2002: Five large New York publishers had US sales of $4.102 billion and worldwide sales of $5.68 billion.
Random House: $2.1 billion worldwide
Penguin Group: $1.3 billion
HarperCollins: $1.1 billion
Simon & Schuster: $690 million (est)
AOL/Time Warner: $415 million
--Publishers Weekly, June 16, 2003

Nielsen BookScan tracks about 70% of total book sales. See
--Publishers Weekly, February 28, 2005.

What genres/categories are people buying?

55% Popular fiction
10% Religious nonfiction
9% Cooking/Crafts
--2001 Consumer Research Study on Book Purchasing by the Book Industry Study Group,

2002: Genres, quantity published.
New adult fiction: 17,000.
Juveniles: 10,000
--R.R. Bowker in Publishers weekly, June 2, 2003.

Christian Books
2002 sales of books and products through all channels: just under
$4.2 billion, up from $4 billion in 2000.
$2.4 billion sold through Christian retail outlets; $1.1 billion through general retail; and $725 million through direct-to-consumer ministry channels.
First 6 months of 2003: CBA member store sales were down 2%.
Books increased 8%, Bibles increased 2% but music and gifts decreased 9%.
--Christian Booksellers Association reported in Publishers Weekly, August 4, 2003

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
2006. Estimated sales $330-million.
Titles published: 2,785.

Humor books

Copies sold of Maher's biggest book, When You Ride Alone, You Ride with bin Laden: 125,000. See more at

Romance books

64.6 million Americans read at least one romance novel in the past year.
78% of romance readers are female
Other statistics at

Book Printers

1638: the first printing press was brought to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
--Doreen Carvajal, The New York Times, August 24, 1997.

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.
Their delivery channels cover more than 90% of the bookstores in the US.
They fulfill nearly 1 million eBooks/day.
They have more than 2,000 vendor/publishers as clients.

Also see

2006. The average print run per title at LightningSource is 1.8 books.
Titles are prices between $9 and 25.99.

Some 30 percent of the 200,000 new titles printed last year were printed in quantities of less than 100 units.
That's 60,000 titles.
--Noel Ward,, July 2006.

Trafford Publishing in British Columbia, exclusively digital and a pioneer in digital book printing, has become the largest book publisher in Canada.
--Noel Ward,, July 2006.

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.”

Book Printing

Most initial print runs are 5,000 copies.
--Publishing for Profit by Tom Woll. Page 113.

4,986 was the average first press run; second printings averaged 4,776. ---PMA survey of members, 1998.

The first print run for a mid-list book by a larger publisher is 10-15,000 books.
--Brian DeFiore, Maui Writers Conference.

A larger publisher must sell 10,000 books to break even.
--Brian DeFiore, Maui Writers Conference.

Larger publishers have shifted their philosophy from a humongous first print run to a market reality run.
--Jean Srnecz, VP, Baker & Taylor. 1998.

Also see

“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.”
--Sara Nelson, Publishers Weekly, July 25, 2005

2005. Offshoring. China is the leading manufacturer of four-color books. See report.

POD Subsidy Publishers

(Xlibris, Author House, Trafford, iUniverse, et. al.)

2008: 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.)
--Publishers weekly, March 17, 2003.

Xlibris sold 300,000 of the 9,000 titles published since 1997 (33 sales per title).
--Moira Allen in The Writer, June 2004.

Xlibris published 10,269 titles through March 25, 2004. 352 or 3.4% had sold more than 500 copies.
1,463 or 14.3% had sold more than 200 copies.
The average per-publication sale number of an Xlibris title is about 130 copies.

Xlibris grossed $2.5-million in 2000 and should do $8-million in 2004.
--The Wall Street Journal, April 24, 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.
--Moira Allen in The Writer, June 2004.

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.
--Moira Allen in The Writer, June 2004.

More iUniverse figures

Authorhouse claims their 18,500 titles have sold 2 million books (108 books/title).

Book Sales in the U.S.
Accurate sales figures are impossible to get.

A successful fiction book sells 5,000 copies.
--Authors Guild.

A successful nonfiction book sells 7,500 copies.
--Authors Guild.

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.
--Association of American Publishers

2002: Books sales totaled roughly $26.9 billion.
--Association of American Publishers.

2002: Books sales totaled roughly $26.9 billion.
A 5.5% increase over 2001. 2001 had a 0.6% increase over 2000.
College texts up 12.4% to $3.9 billion
Mass-Market paperbacks up 11.7% to $1.73 billion

Trade books up 8.8% to $6.93 billion
--Publishers weekly, March 10, 2003.

2003: Net book sales rose nearly 5% to $23 billion. (??)
Trade book sales were up 1.2% to $5.1 billion.
eBook sales increased.
Religious book sales increased 50% to $1.6 billion.
--AAP reported in Booktech Magazine, May/June 2004.

Sales of new books are decreasing while the sales of used books are increasing.
--Publishers weekly, September 20, 2004.

One-third of the books sold worldwide are sold in the US.
--Overseas Book Service, December 8, 1998.

While the US Population is growing and education levels are rising, book sales are not—due to heavy media competition for leisure time.
--Business Trend Analysts, Inc. as reported in Publishers Weekly, October 27, 1997.

A book must move in the stores in six weeks.
--Brian DeFiore, Maui Writers Conference.

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.
--Christian Science Monitor, December 9, 1997.
Also see

In 2001, consumers purchased 1.6 billion books.
--2001 Consumer Research Study on Book Purchasing by the Book
Industry Study Group,

2004. Book sales totaled $22.8 billion
2005: book sales totaled $25.1 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.
• Audiobooks were up 24.7% to $19.6 million, with year-to-date sales off 11.7%.
• Adult hardcovers rose 16.8% to $206.7 million and were up 3% for the year.
• Children's/YA hardcovers were up 8.1% to $53.8 million but have fallen 30.1% for the year.
• University press hardcovers, with sales of $6.6 million, were even with the previous year; sales were up 3.8% for the year.
• Religious books were down 2.2% to $47.9 million and were off 9.5% for the year.
• Adult mass market dropped 6.3% to $73.2 million but was up 6.1% for the year.
• Children's/YA paperbacks fell 8.3% to $37.7 million, and sales were up 0.3% for the year.
• E-books dropped 9.2% to $1.9 million but have risen 22.4% for the year.
• Adult paperbacks were down 9.7% to $99.4 million but were up 11.6% for the year.
• University press paperbacks were down 14.1% to $5.1 million but have risen 4.6% for the year.
See Association of American Publishers and

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.
--USA Today, July 18, 2005.

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.”
-- Publisher’s Weekly, July 17, 2006
Note: The 1.2 million is closer to the number of books in print than the number of titles published for the year.

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

Used books

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.
Meanwhile, the Web's share of sales in the same time period increased to 12.7 percent from 9.7 percent.
--Based on consumer surveys, Ipsos BookTrends, which is a division of the research and consulting firm Ipsos-Insight

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.
--The Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2004.

2002: People spent $530 million on used books, 5% of the trade book market. The Internet makes hard-to-find titles easier to locate.
There are 7,200 used bookstores, up 10% in 10 years.
Powell's in Portland, OR, does 40% of its business online; 55-65% of that volume is in used books.
--Newsweek, August 11, 2003

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.
The heaviest book buyers buy more than one-third of their books used.
The largest-selling used books are: Mysteries, romance and science fiction.
Used nonfiction sell best online.
--Ipsos Book Trends in Publishers weekly, June 9, 2003.

2004. $589-million.

2007. Used book dealers. 79% of the used book sellers that sell online at are 45 or older and more than 50% have an advanced degree.
Most used book merchants are pursuing retailing as a second career.

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.
Information is the basis of more than half the gross domestic product.
--The Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2003

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.
--Publishers Weekly, September 3, 2001.

2003 – 2004. Canada top list again. China’s book manufacturing increases.

2002: $1.68 billion, down 1.8%
Top export markets (in order): Canada, U.K. Japan, Australia, Mexico, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Germany, Taiwan.
--Publishers weekly, March 24, 2003.

Conferences, Writer’s

263 writers’ conferences are listed at Shaw Guides.


eBook sales increased 1,442% in January 2003 over January 2002.
--Publishers weekly, March 24, 2003.

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%. .
--Publishers weekly, June 21, 2004.

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.
--Publishers weekly, September 27, 2004. See

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.
--Publishers weekly, January 17, 2005.

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.
--Open E-Book Forum as reported in Booktech the Magazine, January/February 2003

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 Industry. See


2003: DVD revenue hit $17.5 billion: $12.1 billion in sales and $5.4 billion in rentals.
Finding Nemo on DVD grossed as much as the film.
--Adams Media Research as reported in USA Today, January 8, 2004.

More than one-half of all U.S. homes have a DVD player.
--Adams Media Research as reported in USA Today, January 8, 2004.

2003: people spent 67 hours watching DVDs.
--Adams Media Research as reported in USA Today, January 8, 2004.


1996: Moviegoer spending: $5.4 billion
2002: Moviegoer spending: $9.27 billion
2003: Moviegoer spending $9.17 billion.
    Overall, theaters sold 100 million fewer movie tickets.
--USA Today, January 8, 2004.

A TV movie will be seen by 3-million people and will sell more books than a screen film.
--Andy Cohen, Maui Writers Conference.

40% make impulse purchases.
--Book industry Study Group. Publishing for Profit by Tom Woll, page 170.

2002: Of the $23.7 billion spent on books, only $10.7 billion is spent in bookstores. The non-traditional outlets sell more books.
--Tami DePalma, Marketability.

Book Purchases by Store Type

2007. Chains, Internet dominate bookselling.
Chain bookstores accounted for 33% of unit book purchases in the January through September period.
Purchases made through online retailers represented 20% of book purchases.
Book clubs accounted for 12% of book buys.
In all, the direct-to-consumer (Internet, book clubs, book fairs, other) channel accounted for 35% of purchases in the nine-month period.

2005: 88% of respondents are satisfied with the service from independent stores. Independent stores ranked higher than chain or online stores.
--Consumer Reports, January 2005.

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.
--American Booksellers Association, as reported in The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2004.

24.6% Large chain stores
17.7% Book Clubs
15.2% Smaller chains and independent stores.
5.4% Internet such as
--Book Industry Study Group.

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.
--Ipsos Book Trends, reported in The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2003

Chain stores

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.

2006. Hastings
Book sales at Hastings Entertainment rose 1.8% in 2006, to $120.5 million

153: Total number of Hastings sto stores

$118 million: Book sales in 2005
$119 million: Book sales in 2004
$117 million: Book sales in 2003
$134 million: Music sales in 2005
$135 million: Music sales in 2004
$132 million: Music sales in 2003
For more numbers, see

2006. Books-A-Million. The company operated 27 traditional stores last year, down from 32 in 2005; in 2002 BAM had 44 traditional stores.
The company had a net gain of six superstores in 2006, finishing the year with 179; in 2002 it had 163 superstores. The nine new stores BAM opened in 2006 added revenue of $12.6 million, while the eight stores it shut had sales of $3.9 million. Earlier this year, BAM reported total revenue of $520 million, a 3.3% increase over 2005.

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.
--The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2004.

Books-A-Million is the #3 chain with 200+ stores
--Tony Kontzer in Information Week.

2002: Borders opened 41 super stores for a total of 404.
Closed 53 Waldenbook stores and opened 4, leaving a total of 778.
8 new stores were opened overseas for a total of 30 super stores and 37 Books, Etc.
--Publishers weekly, March 17, 2003.

2004. Borders revenue increased 19% for $3.89 billion in sales.
Superstore sales were up 40%.
Borders opened 19 superstores for a total of 462.
Walden sales fell 5% to $779.9 million. 38 stores were closed. Many remaining Walden stores will be re-branded as Borders Express.
--Publishers weekly, February 14, 2005.

Barnes & Noble plans to open 30-35 new stores in 2004.
--The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2004.

2003 gross sales
Barnes & Noble had sales of $5.95 billion and a net profit of 3%
Borders had sales of $3.7 billion and a net profit of 3.5%.
--The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2004.

2002 gross sales:
Barnes & Noble: $3.7 billion
Borders Group: $3.4 billion
Books-A-Million: $443 million
--Publishers weekly, April 7, 2003.

2001 gross sales:
Barnes & Noble: $3.8 billion
Borders Group: $3.5 billion
Books-A-Million: $443 million

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.
• 2004 BGI Sales: Borders--2.6 billion, International--511 million, Walden (includes Walden, Borders Express, Airport, Outlet and Kiosks)--800 million
• 2004 BGI Domestic Sales: Books--50%, Music--14.5%, DVD--8%, Cafe--3.8%, Gift--4%, Bargain--3.6%, Children's--8.8%, Calendar--1.6%, Newsstand--5.3%
• 2005 Initiatives: Paper chase, the new Borders acquisition of stationery products, is developed in the U.S.; Seattle's Best Coffee, a Starbucks subsidiary, goes nationwide in Borders Cafes; Borders Express, a new Borders branding, will remain Walden managed and purchased but will include Borders Original Voices; Improve execution of merchandising in Borders stores, set new standards.
• 2005 Category Management Initiatives: the last set of categories to be rolled out for 2005 are Home, Transportation, Metaphysics, Diet, Art and Self-Help. Other categories will be revisited on a two-year cycle.
• Current Store Count: 463 Borders stores, 640 Walden stores, 36 Borders Express Stores, 14 Airport stores, 78 International Borders stores, 22 Borders Outlet stores
• 2005 projected store activity: opening 10-25 new Borders stores, 100 Borders remodels, 100 conversions from Walden to Borders Express
• 2004 Books performance: adult books up 1%, children's down 5%; Borders Express converted stores showed increased sales of 5%.
• Borders returns rates: 24.74% in 2004, 23.84% in 2003, 26.55% in 2002, 25.9% in 2001
• Borders comp store sales: +0.6% in 2004, -0.5% in 2003, -1.2% in 2002, +2.0% in 2001
• Walden comp store sales: -1.7% in 2004, -.6% in 2003, -4.4% in 2002, -3.2% in 2001
• Borders title assort: core titles carried in all stores up 30-40% in 2004
Also see

Online Bookstores/

Number of books sold online in 1999: 57 million.
--The Standard, October 23, 2000.

In 2000, online sales were 5-10% of total book sales. 40% were fiction.
--The Standard, October 23, 2000.

Amazon book sales by year
2001: $1.8 billion
2002: $2.0 billion
2003: $2.3 billion
2004: $2.6 billion. Overall sales for all products were up 32% to $6.9 billion.
--Publishers weekly, February 7, 2005.
2002 – 2006 figures compared with bookstores.

Making #2 at Amazon.
Total sales for the week of the Amazon campaign were 2294 copies for the Biology of Belief. It took sales of more than 1,000 to drive the book to number two. (A Harry Potter book was first)

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.
--Dawson Church
Author's Publishing Cooperative--comprehensive services for selfpublishers is Bantam-Doubleday-Dell’s third largest customer.
--Michael Larsen, agent.

2001. sells 5% of all books for $3 billion. is ranked among the top 50 brands in the world.
--Newsweek. April 9, 2001.

2002: Online bookstores sold 10% of the books.
-- The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2003

Amazon had 35.9 million visitors in May 2003. had 7.9 million
--ComScores Networks, Inc.
The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2003

The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2003

2002: Books were by far the best Internet seller. 43% of online shoppers purchased at least one book.
--Vertus Customer Focus ( , reported in

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.
Total revenue for the entire company jumped 39% last year, to $14.84 billion, with net income up 150%, to $476 million.

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.


$3.2 billion: Total revenue in 2004
99: Percentage of revenue generated by advertising in 2004
3,021: Number of employees at end of 2004

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.
--American Booksellers Association, as reported in The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2004.
2005: American Booksellers Association membership is down to 1,660 stores.

ABA membership was 5,132 in 1991. It fell to 4,047 in 1998.
--Business Week, June 29, 1998.

Since 1993, ABA membership has dropped from 5,100 to 3,500 because the independent stores have been driven out of business.
--Chicago Tribune Magazine, May 31, 1998.

ABA membership declined to 2,800 stores.
--Publishers Weekly, December 2001

ABA membership
2000: 2,794
2001: 2,191
2002: 1,900 (a loss of 30% in two years)
--Mitch Kaplan, vice-president American Booksellers Association.

Only 100 stores joined the ABA in 2001 while 250-300 stores closed.
Membership is now less than 2,200.

In April 2003, bookstore membership dropped 9% from a year earlier.
Total membership, including industry members and prospective booksellers, dropped 11.4%
Total membership was 2,643
--Publishers Weekly, September 22, 2003.

Covers, Book

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.
--The Wall Street Journal

Sales Reps show covers or jackets and give a sales pitch that averages 14 seconds.
Also see 116: Book Cover Worksheet.

Types of Covers Preferred by Readers of romance novels:
53% of readers prefer covers that are either abstract or romantic
35% of readers prefer sedate and abstract covers
12% of readers prefer romantic covers


2007. There are an estimated 117,467 libraries nationwide, representing public, private, academic and specialized libraries.
The library market represents over $5 billion.
52% had an increase in circulation, prompting an increase in budget, resulting in more book buying.

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.
--U.S. Department of Justice as reported in The Wall Street Journal, February 4, 1997.

Libraries lose 20% of their books each year. Some books get past the security devices and others are just not returned.
--Librarian speaking at a conference some years ago.

There is no "standard" rate of book loss

2007. 13% of books missing at Library of Congress.

Also see

--Chicago Tribune Magazine, May 31, 1998.

Book Fairs

The first ABA convention was in 1901.
--Chicago Tribune Magazine, May 31, 1998.

The first ABA book fair was in 1947. For many years it was in the basement of the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.
--Chicago Tribune Magazine, May 31, 1998.

ABA/BEA Book Fair attendance was:
1996: 37, 464
1997: 25,732
1998: 25,672
2004: 18,213
2005: 27,421
2006: 22,366

In 2001, there were 2000 exhibitors

2003 BEA Survey
85% felt there was more floor traffic in New York 2002 than in Los Angeles in 2003.
62% said there was more traffic in Chicago in 2001 than in Los Angeles in 2002.
82% like moving the show from city to city.
61% prefer Chicago
21% favor Los Angeles
18% favor New York
--Bargain Book News

2005. BEA Book Fair
Number of hotel room nights blocked off for BEA-goers: 12,000

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.
--Brian DeFiore, Maui Writers Conference.

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:
2003: 10,902
2002: 13,129

International attendance:
2003: 708
2002: 1,039

2003: 477. 224 were book and Bible publishers. Exhibitor brought
1,000 fewer staff than in 2002.
2002: 496
2001: 515

--Christian Booksellers Association reported in Publishers Weekly,
August 4, 2003

And see Writers and Authors

2004. Frankfurt
350,619: Number of titles on display at the 2004 fair
6,691: Total number of exhibitors at the 2004 fair

Copyright Infringement

Global piracy losses to the U.S. book publishers estimated at $650.8 million in 2001.
--International Intellectual Property Alliance.

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.
Noel L. Griese,,

Santa Barbara has at least 384 published book authors. The population of the South Coast is about 175,000.
--Dan Poynter.
2006. 24 million adults in the United States consider themselves creative writers but less than 5% have ever been published anywhere.

Subscribers to Writer's Digest magazine. Who are these 148,000 writers?

25% are working on fiction or poetry.
Have been writing for 14.6 years on the average; 21% for 1-4 years.

Each averages 12.6 hours/week writing.
    --Advanced writers: 30.5 hours/week
    --Intermediate writers: 11 hours/week
    --Beginning writers: 7 hours/week

The average (mean) Writer’s Digest subscriber is:
Female. 66.9%
47 years old.
Has .63 children.
Has completed 15.6 years of education.
Has a household income of $53,353.
Has a net worth of $238,178.
83% have a permanent area in their home dedicated to writing.
Completed 15.1 pieces of written work in the past 12 months.
79% plan to spend more time writing during the next three years.
Readers used the Internet 47.6 times in the past 30 days.
Has been reading WD for more than 8 years and spends more than 2 hours with each issue.
88% of the subscribers save every issue.

Writer’s Digest Book Club members
    More than 50% of the members are writing fiction.
--Writer's Digest

Retail Book Buyers/Readers

Women buy 68% of all books.
--Lou Aronica, Senior V-P Avon Books. Publishers Weekly, March 22, 1999.

Men buy more books than women.

The median household income for book buyers is $41,600, compared to $35,300 for all adults.
--Bookselling This Week, November 10, 1997.

Men are more likely to shop in chain stores than women. Women are more likely to shop in discount stores and supermarkets than men.
--Publishers Weekly, May 12, 1997, page 13.

$1.7 billion is spent annually on textbooks. $78 billion is spent on alcohol, $37 billion on cigarettes and $6 billion on pet food.
Also see

In the U.S., 40-million people move their residence each year. This makes keeping up with address changes an expensive challenge.
--Target Marketing, March 2002.

How much do people like to pay?
28% $5 to $7.99. Presumably they are buying mostly mass-market paperbacks.
19% $3 to $.99
19% $10 to $14.99
19% $15 to $24.99
--2001 Consumer Research Study on Book Purchasing by the Book Industry Study Group,

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

2007. WOMEN AND THE BOOKS THEY BUY-2007. Find out what they are buying. 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.”
--BBC News,

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.
City Overall
06 Rank 05 Rank
Minneapolis, MN 1 2 2
Seattle, WA 2 1 1
St. Paul, MN 3 5 9.5
Denver, CO 4 8 6
Washington, D.C. 5 3.5 3
St. Louis, MO 6 12 15
San Francisco, CA 7 9 5
Atlanta, GA 8 3.5 4
Pittsburgh, PA 9 6 8
Boston, MA 10 11 7

One person in three has purchased a book just to look intelligent.,6109,1599060,00.HTML

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.
•Only 38% of adults in 2006 said they had spent time reading a book for pleasure the previous day.
•65% of college freshmen in 2005 said they read little or nothing for pleasure.
•30% of 13-year-olds in 2004 said they read for fun "almost everyday," down from 35% in 1984. and,b5DfSw5r,w

1993-2003: The number of titles published increased 58% while fiction readers declines 14%,
--Malcolm Jones in Newsweek. Sources: NEA and RR Bowker.

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.
Meanwhile, the percentage of whites that read literature in 2002 was 51.4% in 2002, down from 59.8% in 1982, while 37.1% of African-Americans and 26.5% of Hispanics read literature in 2002. In 1982 those numbers were at 42.3% for African-Americans and 36.4% for Hispanics.

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.
--Reading at Risk, a report published by the National Endowment for the Arts ( reported in PW Newsline by Jim Milliot. July 8, 2004.

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).
--Bookselling This Week, November 10, 1997.

53% read fiction, 43% nonfiction. The favorite fiction category is mystery & Suspense, 19%.
--Publishers Weekly, May 12, 1997, page 13.

Of the top fifty books, fiction outsells nonfiction about 60% to 40%.
Fiction peaks in July at 70% but nonfiction reaches almost 50% in December.
--USA Today, April 30, 1999.

55% of fiction is bought by women; 45% by men.
--Publishers Weekly, May 12, 1997, page 13.

70% of Americans haven't visited a bookstore in five (5) years.
--Michael Levine, June 2002

Customers 55 and older account for more than one-third of all books bought.
--2001 Consumer Research Study on Book Purchasing by the Book Industry Study Group,

People reduced their time reading between 1996 and 2001 to 2.1 hours/month.
2001: per capita spending on books per month was $7.18.
--Publishers Weekly, May 26, 2003

Only 32% of the U.S. population has ever been in a bookstore.
--David Godine, Publisher.

The time Americans spend reading books.
1996: 123 hours
2001: 109 hours
--Veronis, Suhler & Associates investment bankers

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 five years.
-- Veronis Suhler Stevenson, investment bankers, as reported in The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2004.

2001: Households purchasing at least one book
--Veronis, Suhler & Associates investment bankers

1996 to 2001
Consumer spending on books rose 16%
Unit sales dropped 6%
(Readers spend more and purchased fewer books)
--Veronis, Suhler & Associates investment bankers

The mean age of book buyers
1997: Age 15-39: 26.5% of the books bought
2001: Age 15-39: 20.8% of the books bought

1997: Age over 55: 33.7% of the books bought.
2001: Age over 55: 44.1% of the books bought
--Ipsos NPD reported in Publishers Weekly, January 6, 2003

1992: 20% of adults in the U.S. read at or below the fifth grade level.
--National Adult Literacy Survey reported in Publishers Weekly, January 6, 2003.

1992: 76.2 million adults I the U.S. did not read a book.
    113.8 million did.

2002: 89.9 million adults I the U.S. did not read a book.
    125.2 million did.
--eContent magazine, November 2004.

"Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half have never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half."
—Gore Vidal, author.

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:
1,100: Broadcast TV. Increasing.
480: Cable TV. Increasing
250: Recorded music. Increasing.
180: Newspapers. Decreasing
90: Magazines. decreasing.
105: Books. Level.
65: Home video. Level.
10: Movies. Level.
-- Doreen Carvajal, The New York Times, August 24, 1997.

Readers of In-Flight Magazines.

--57 percent have incomes of more than $75,000 a year
--Many of these magazines have high circulations
--Many readers are Frequent Flyers, among the most educated and affluent consumers
--60 percent are men; 40 percent women
--74 percent are in the 25-54 age bracket
--86 percent are college-educated
--56 percent hold management positions

--Contact information for most of the 21 magazines has changed in the last year and a half.
--In general, circulation at most in-flight magazines has dropped the last two years.
--Several of the magazines have changed editors.
--One magazine has been renamed and reformatted.
--Editors are still hungry for business news, food trends, interesting events, tourist attractions and celebrities in cities the airlines serve.
So make sure your special event is listed in the events calendar if it's in a city served by one of these airlines.
--Many editors are still inundated with boring travelogues along the lines of "how I spent my summer vacation." Don't even bother sending this stuff.
--Joan Stewart, the Publicity Hound.
Get the entire report, complete with updated contact information for 30 in-flight magazines, for $9. Order at

44 million: Number of adults who have difficulty using reading, writing and computational skills needed in everyday life
20: Percentage of adults who read at fifth-grade level or below
39: Percent of adults needing help with everyday literacy tasks
101: Total number of hours spent reading books, per person, in 1995
86: Total number of hours spent reading books, per person, in 2004
1,580: Number of hours spent watching TV, per person, in 1995
1,673: Number of hours spent watching TV, per person, in 2004

Self-HeSelf-Help Books

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.
The self-help book category came into its own in 1936 with the publication of Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Today self-help sales are $538-million and account for one in ten titles sold.
--The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 1998.

1,818 self-help titles were published in 1997, generating $538 million.
--Simba Information as reported in USA Today.

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.
--Bob Miller, Group Publisher of Hyperion as reported in USA Today.


5,000 novels, 200 first novels and 100 scripts are purchased each year.
--Ridley Pearson, Maui Writers Conference.


Eighty percent of the books published by major houses come through agents.
--Michael Larsen, Literary Agent.


Many advances are between $1,500 and $7,500.
--Publishing for Profit by Tom Woll, page 109.

A typical advance for a computer book is $10,000.
--Chicago Tribune, June 21, 1998.

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.
Simon & Schuster, Random House, and Penguin Putnam wrote off at least $100 million in unearned advances in 1996.
--Bookselling This Week, October 6, 1997.

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 Wall Street Journal, May 29, 1997.


The average royalty is 10.7% of net.
--John Huenefeld. Publishing for Profit by Tom Woll, page 121.


2007. Reviewers and reviewing ethics. See

LA Times receives 600 to 700 books for review each week.
--Steve Wasserman, book review editor.

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.
--John Morse, president and publisher, Merriam-Webster.
Publishers Weekly, December 2001
Note: The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary is the bestselling hardcover book in U.S. history. It has sold 55-million copies since it first appeared in 1898.


Bestsellers accounted for 3% of the sales at Barnes & Noble in 1997.
--Business Week, June 29, 1998.

64% of book buyers say a book’s being on a bestseller list is not important.
--Publishers Weekly, May 12, 1997, page 13.

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.
In 2000, John Grisham's "The Brethren" sold 2.8 million books.
--National Arts Journalism Program,

Nearly all bestsellers come from five publishing conglomerates.
--National Arts Journalism Program,

2002 Bestsellers by Corporation
Random House: 64
Penguin Putnam: 41
Simon & Schuster: 29
Time Warner: 30
Harper-Collins: 22
Von Holtzbrink: 18
Hyperion: 15

Soft cover
Random House: 63
Penguin Putnam: 48
Simon & Schuster: 28
Time Warner: 19
Harper-Collins: 30
Von Holtzbrink: 12
Hyperion: 5
--Publishers Weekly, January 13, 2003.

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& had sold more than 750,000 copies; has sold more than 725,000 through yesterday
--Shelf Awareness, July 5, 2005,

2003. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling.
630 Barnes & Noble stores sold 286,000 copies in the first hour; 896,000 the first day.
1,200 Borders and Walden stores sold 750,000 copies in the first 23 hours; the highest first-day sales in its history.
In the UK, WHSmith sold 120,000 the first day. 31,500 postmen were needed to delver the book in England.
5-million copies were sold the first day, shattering all records.
--The Wall Street Journal, June 2003.

2003. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling.
9.3 million copies were in print the initial week.
750,000 audiobooks were in print the initial week. sold the $29.99 book for $12.00 shipped 789,000 the first day.
--Publishers Weekly, June 30, 2003.

Harry Potter Bestsellers
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: 25.1 million
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: 22 million
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: 16.7 million
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: 16.3 million
The books have been published in 55 languages and distributed in more than 200 countries.
--The Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2003

Prices of Harry Potter books

2007. For more Harry Potter numbers, see

Lemony Snicket numbers.
Total Snicket ISBNs: 30
Copies in print of Snicket books, volumes 1–12: 26.5 million.

Star Wars

70 million: Total number of Star Wars–related books in print worldwide 1,700: Number of Star Wars titles in print worldwide

For bestseller lists between 1900 and 1995, see

Also see

Some bestsellers do not make the lists.
Shockingly, the longest unbroken spell atop the heap for The Da Vinci Code was only 13 weeks.


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.



2005. iTunes offers 15,000 podcasts and listeners have signed up for 7 million podcasts.
Businessweek, 11/05.


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."

• 40 percent of manufactured books never sell.
• The typical waiting period before books start the long and expensive trek back to the warehouse is a mere four months.
• The industry return rate is 36.3 percent for hardcover and 25 percent for paperback.
• Superstores like Barnes & Noble sell around 70–80 percent of what they order, discounters like Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club only 60 percent.
• 37 percent of all books sent to stores in 2002 were returned.
• HarperCollins lost $250 million in 2002 on returns alone.
• Between 65 and 95 percent of returned books are destroyed once they come back from a bookseller

2003. 34% of adult hardcover books are returned to publishers.

Returns are 21-23% for larger publishers according to the AAP.
--Tom Woll in Publishing for Profit.

Barnes & Noble had a return rate of 28% for all categories of books in 1996 and 19% in 1997.
--Publishers Weekly Interactive. March 30, 1998.

The 1997 return rate for new adult trade hardcover books was 36.7% according to the AAP.--PW Interactive. March 30, 1998.

A return rate of 15% is considered very good.
--Publishing for Profit by Tom Woll, page 76.

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.
--The Wall Street Journal, May 29, 1997.

Sell-Through. Independent stores sell over 80% of the books they order. Superstores sell 70% of the books they order.
Discounters such as Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club sell about 60%.
--The Wall Street Journal, May 29, 1997.

The industry return rate is 36.3% for hardcover and 25% for soft. B&N returns 19%.
--Brill’s Content, July/August 1998.

2002: 37% of the books sent to stores were returned.

Harper-Collins lost more than $250 million in a single year just on returns.
--The New York Times, reported in Booktech the Magazine, March/April 2002

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.
--Booktech the Magazine, March/April 2002

"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 Demographics

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 Bookwire

Bowker’s industry statistics

British Statistics. See

Brenner Books

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Bureau of Transportation statistics

Business Communications Company (BCC)

Business Trends Analysts.

Canadian book-industry figures
See Statistics Canada.

Cap Ventures

Choice magazine

CIA Fact book download

Cowles/SIMBA Information

Euromonitor International



Gallup Organization

IDEAlliance, Inc.

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

Internet Statistics

Market Data Retrieval

National Archives and Records Administration

National Center for Education Statistics

National Center for Health Statistics

Outsell Inc.

Polling Report

State & County QuickFacts

Statistics on the Web

Subtext/open Book Publishing

Transaction Publishers

UK Statistics

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.

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics"
—Benjamin Disraeli, British Statesman.

Questions about the book publishing industry?
Contact Dan Poynter

© Dan Poynter, 2008



  Contacting Para Publishing LLC. Email:
  Telephone: +1-805-968-7277; Fax: +1-805-968-1379
  Postal Address: PO Box 8206-240, Santa Barbara, CA 93118-8206 USA.
  Street Address: 530 Ellwood Ridge, Santa Barbara, CA 93117-1047 USA.

Some relevant numbers: SAN 215-8981: Fed ID 95-6532235: Duns 09-141-9358: ISBNs 0-915516 and 1-56860.