This entry is part 1 of 23 in the series Publishing Biz

Publishing stats do matter, but where can we get reliable numbers? Every once in a while, someone asks me about their statistical chances of making a mark on the book market. Truth is: there are no stats to support a success or failure – not on any market (regardless of what some business types will tell you in detail for just $39.99).

But there are stats on the self publishing and traditional publishing business, and because so many other websites for writers are spreading a wealth of misinformation, I thought I’d better step into the conversation.

There’s a lot of misinformation about the book market and current publishing stats.

So what’s really true? What is trending?

publishing stats

Knowing when and what to publish does have something to do with publishing stats. So let’s take a serious and unbiased look.

Let’s Crunch Some Numbers

If you want your stories to stand out amongst the very crowded book market, you must practice and polish your craft. You must create something memorable.

According to Bowkers, 4 new books are self published every three minutes – and those are only the ones that have an ISBN. Books on the market without an ISBN are pretty much impossible to track (thus: ISBNs). Get Bowker’s official report HERE.

[My Math: 625,327 new titles in 2015 = 52,110 per month,  13,027 per week, 1,861 per day, 78 per hour, brings me to 1.3 books per minute which is about 4 books every 3 minutes.]

What about traditionally published books? According to UNESCO, the number of books published worldwide each year is over 2-million, but this number is probably far too low. Most countries aren’t that forthright about supplying accurate or current numbers.

How Many Books per Country

According to Statista and the International Publishers Association, a small country like Belgium can be expected to publish around 5,000 titles a year. The UK publishes over 200,000 titles per year.

Brazil publishes over half a million books a year, recently beating out both China and the US. Brazil’s growing middle class has meant a boom in the book market there. The country has seen steady growth in book sales (for both education and entertainment) since 2011.

Doom & Gloom & Nonsense

Like me, you’ve probably seen on many writer-oriented websites serious doomsday reports declaring that while the number of books on the market is exploding, the number of readers is waning. This simply isn’t true. (You can get some US stats on who reads here.)

It is equally untrue that the only readers who buy books are people in the publishing industry. What nonsense. There is absolutely no statistical evidence to support this paranoia. Just because Uncle Bob doesn’t read doesn’t mean the world at large has become illiterate.

Reading is good for your brain, but it will always be something that people will invest their time and money in only when they feel that they can. So it’s important for the development of any country to have a strong middle class – because it means more people are ready and able to invest in expanding their minds.

Bottom Line on Book Business & Publishing Stats

It doesn’t matter how you’re published because the typical reader doesn’t care. They will like a book, love it – or not.

If your story is tight and your characters make us care what happens next, it won’t matter if it comes from a publishing house or your house. (That said, I do recommend pursuing both. Read about what it means to be a Hybrid Author HERE.)

So why am I going into all this Numbers Talk at all? To demonstrate one thing: you must make your work The Tops. Otherwise, no one will ever know of you.

Yes, you need to market your work – even when you’re traditionally published. But the real stuff gets right down to The Stuff – great story and all the reasons why we love to read.

Keep creating, no matter what.



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This entry is part of the series
Publishing Biz
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K.C. Hill
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