A drop in the river
March 31, 2009 11:08 AM   Subscribe

How many books (titles, not editions or book pages) are available on Amazon?

I'm looking for the number of titles Amazon currently lists. I'm not interested in how many they've sold or how many total products the site has. I don't care if they're in or out of print, new or used (though a breakdown of those categories would be awesome), I'm just looking for how many titles are listed on their US site. Google produced bupkis, Amazon's Media Center, even their annual report does not seem to mention the number of titles listed. Anyone got an educated guess or better yet, a cited figure?
posted by Toekneesan to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Whatever answer you get, you might want to discount automatically written books, such as those produced by Philip M. Parker, who claims over 200,000 titles.
posted by jedicus at 11:15 AM on March 31, 2009

My guess is that even they don't have an accurate count. Many of Amazon's listings are provided by feeds from individual publishers. If we add a title to our database, it will then update Amazon's database. (Most of the time this means that Amazon has the most accurate information about a book's release, etc. Sometimes it maddeningly becomes a game of "How the hell did that get there?")

With all these automatic feeds, plus the variable inventory of used booksellers that list on Amazon, many of whom may be selling unique titles, the number of available titles fluctuates constantly. Any number you get is going to be wrong as soon as someone adds or deletes a title.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:21 PM on March 31, 2009

Sure, I understand that it's a moving target, but there's got to be some kind of benchmark. Are they at five million, seven million, twenty million? There are a lot of numbers available on their share of the market, what I'm wondering about is the tool they're doing it with. I'd like to compare it with Google Books' seven million title catalog, and even OCLC's and LibraryThing's catalog numbers but I can't find any number from Amazon to compare. Amazon has a big catalog too, but how big?
posted by Toekneesan at 4:48 PM on March 31, 2009

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