Did you know that the number of self-published books in the United States grew to over 1 million in 2017? That’s a 28% rise. I’m not surprised, are you? Publishers Weekly posted an article this week with all the numbers. Click here to read the full article, but here’s a rundown of the report, compiled by Bowker.
But first, I didn’t know what Bowker was, so I had to look it up. The company is the exclusive U.S. agent for issuing International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs). They also compile a lot of data, including bibliographic information on published books. Their statistical reports which include publishing trends are free and you can download them here.
Here’s where the data is a little tricky to understand. The increase was mostly due to rise in the number of print books issued ISBNs. The number of ISBNs for e-books decreased, but that is likely because authors are switching to Amazon’s KDP self-publishing platform. KDP doesn’t use ISBNs, so Bowker’s data doesn’t include this segment of e-books and Amazon does not make these numbers public.
Amazon’s Create Space is going strong too, with a 50% rise in title output of print books in 2017. These numbers are part of Bowker’s data. Smashwords and Lulu are still in the e-book game, but their numbers fell in 2017.
What’s interesting is that the number of print ISBNs issued by Author Solutions dropped 19% in 2017. Their numbers have fallen every year since 2012. Author Solutions is the parent company of a bunch of self-publishing companies, including AuthorHouse. They also have partnerships with several traditional publishing houses.
Numbers a year ago, showing only an 8% gain in self-published books, suggested that maybe the self-published market was reaching maturity. Maybe not now!
So those are a lot of numbers to digest, but the story behind the data is that the self-publishing segment is a significant player in the publishing market.
Are you a self-published author? Do these numbers confirm what you already know? How did you get your book out there?
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