Bowker followed those self-publishing-focused statistics we noted yesterday with the formal release of their estimates of print book production in 2011. What they call “traditional” output–which includes self-publishers like Create Space, but excludes public domain POD factories like BiblioBazaar–grew for the sixth consecutive year. The preliminary title count was 347,178, up almost 6 percent from 2010’s final count of 328,259. (NB we have observed that the final count is almost always higher than the preliminary tally; that 2010 number listed here is about 12,000 titles higher than the preliminary estimate issued this time a year ago.) As reported yesterday, at least, self-published print books comprise about 124,700 of those ISBNs, or 36 percent of the total “traditional” output.
Bear in mind, however, that Bowker’s official stats continue to measure only books issued in print form (including print on demand). They still do not tabulate counts for ebooks issued during the year, so the numbers clearly under-represent the actual amount of new volumes coming to market, particularly with the dramatic but unquantified rise of digital-only titles. Anecdotally we all know this is an area of explosive growth, but because of inconsistent application of identifiers (among other factors), it remains untrackable. To understand the real nature of new-title production from year-to-year, we’ll need to figure out how to “size” ebook releases as well.
While regular print title creation grew modestly, the public domain business clearly peaked in 2010–when it exploded to 3.8 million titles–falling back to a mere 1.185 million titles in 2011, a dramatic drop but still the second-largest year for this segment of the business.
Among “traditional” titles, fiction remains the largest single category, rising 13 percent to roughly 60,000 titles, with the broad listing of juveniles second at 36,000 titles, followed by sociology/economics at 31,600 titles.