Sunday, January 10, 2010

Books: Not dead yet either

(The "either" refers to the ever-popular Information Age: Not dead yet, which has now been failing to answer searchers' questions about when the Information Age started for over two years)

I was generally aware, from browsing through bookstores and sites like Amazon, that books are still being published. What I wasn't prepared for was this list of statistics, taken from Robert Darnton's The Case For Books, itself referencing Bowker's Global Books in Print:
  • 700,000 new titles appeared worldwide in 1998
  • 895,000 appeared in 2003
  • 976,000 appeared in 2007
These are new titles, not individual books. Whether people are buying more or fewer books is a separate issue, but the cover prices of books strongly suggest that demand hasn't collapsed.

[That may have been the peak.   If not, it couldn't have been long afterward.  Bowker's now estimates closer to 300,000 print titles for 2013 and 2014.  Still substantially more than zero, but perhaps the writing is on the wall. -- D.H. May 2015]

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