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October 10th, 2014

300,000 new self-published books printed last year; up nearly 30 percent

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by David Rogers

Many self-published books

More than 300,000 new self-published book titles were printed last year, up 28.8 percent from the year before.

This increase produced an overall 16.5 percent uptick in the overall number of new titles introduced to the self-publishing market, even though the number of new self-published ebooks declined 1.6 percent year over year to 155,942. The total number of new self-published titles last year was 458,564.

These stats come from the new Bowker report, “Self-Publishing in the United States, 2008-2013.” The report breaks down 2013 self-publishing numbers not only by print vs. ebook, but also by the companies that produce the self-published books.

While the report provides a positive snapshot of the self-publishing industry, it should be noted that it only concerns new titles that have an ISBN registered with Bowker.

For an example of those that may not be counted, titles published through Amazons Kindle Direct Publishing are not required to have an ISBN. Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press also does not require an ISBN.

See our in-depth guide to ISBN numbers for more on the sometimes complex requirements and stipulations for these numbers.

While these eliminations from the report may seem to provide a bit of skewed snapshot, Bowker’s director of identifier services, Beat Barblan, told Publishers Weekly the report indicates “trends rather than absolutes. We’re consistent in the way we calculate this each year, making the reports accurate reflections of trends.”

Barblan also pointed to the fact that small publishers – those registering 10 or fewer titles – tend to represent self-publishers. That group produced an 8 percent rise in titles, and Barblan points out that this may be an indication of the role of a writer shifting to more of a business owner than exclusively a writer.

Regardless of the caveats of the report, it does indicate consistent growth of the industry, one that Bowker believes is maturing.

“Our general conclusion is that self-publishing is beginning to mature. While it continues to be a force to reckon with, it is evolving from a frantic, wild-west style space to a more serious business,” Barblan said in a press release. “The market is stabilizing as the trend of self-publisher as business-owner, rather than writer only, continues.”