How many books?

Your Snarkness,

I have heard/read from different sources that somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000 books are published in the U.S. each year. This includes ALL titles. And then I've heard/read that only 8 to 10 percent of new titles each year are fiction.

So...between 5,000ish and maybe 10,000ish fictional titles published each year. Any validity to this?

Tell Killer Yapp my toy fox terrier, Reggie, said hey.

More like 195,000 books are published every year. Fewer than two percent sell more than 1,000 copies.

There's no such thing as a "fictional title" unless you mean a title that doesn't exist. "Killer Yapp Does The Macarena" is a fictional title. I think what you're intending to ask is how many of those 150,000 books are works of fiction, or fiction titles.

Answer: 25,000.
Source: Poets&Writers

Killer Yapp says Reggie looks good in leather but lose the cigar.


Anonymous said...

Miss Snark,

I ran across your site for the first time this evening and look forward to perusing your archives to catch up. What a great resource for the legions of wannabe (gonnabe?) novelists like myself. Thanks, I get a kick out of your posts!

This is the second reference I've seen to the relatively tiny number of books that see even modest sales each year. I'm left with a burning question. Why is there so much crap published?

I go through a lot of novels, and lately it seems like half of the newer ones (cozy mysteries are a particular culprit) are simply bad. I realize tastes differ, but I'm talking poor diction, swarms of tacky adverbs, lame-ass dialogue....

Really. Why is there so much bad fiction out there? Is there money to be made in printing it?

Rick said...

Wow. Or ouch!

So, lessee. 25,000 fiction titles are published each year, but only about 4000 titles of any sort, including boatloads of nonfiction, sell over a thousand copies. How many of those are fiction titles? It sounds like over 80 percent of fiction titles, probably more like 90 percent, sell fewer than a thousand copies.

On the brighter side - at least for sales once published, though not for getting (professionally) published - does that 25,000 fiction titles include all the deathless works from the vanity houses? I'd imagine it does; they're technically "published," even not in the sense that either Miss Snark or the Snarklings have in mind.

Less wordy version: How many fiction titles are published each year by commercial houses, or respected small presses - titles that Miss Snark would regard as a professional credit? How many of those sell over a thousand copies?

cheri -

Don't forget that some of the books that sell few copies were never expected to sell more: very specialized technical or academic works, books of strictly local interest, etc. They might be excellent works for their specialized purpose. But that said, yeah, there must be an awful lot of crap out there!

Anonymous said...

I hadn't thought of the specialty/academic pubs, so yes, that makes sense.

Sorry for the ouch. :) I know how hard writing is and I appreciate the work people put in for all the books I read. I'm assuming for every book I don't enjoy there must be folks out there that do.

Dhewco said...

Well, when you consider that number includes PA, AuthorHouse, iUniverse and other such companies..that 196k isn't that impressive.

Anyway, I'm a new male snarkling that has been reading for five days straight now. I've read all the archives but June and plan to do that soon.

I do have a question, I've yet to see you refer to a male client. Do you have any? Or are they all perfect?