Number of self-published vs. officially published books?
March 20, 2014 7:30 AM   Subscribe

I need some rough data about books published by recognized publishers vs. books that are self-published. Can you help me find where to look for these numbers?

I am looking for a couple of numbers, worldwide (though broken down by major market market is fine too), only English language, every year for the last 5-10 years:

1) Number of self-published books
2) Number of books published by recognized publishers

Where do I even begin looking for this info? Any publishers, book trade professionals, librarians, data geeks have any idea? Thanks!
posted by meerkatty to Media & Arts (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't have any data for this, but one thing that makes it complicated is, what's the line between a self-published book and a book published by a recognized publisher? It can be almost impossible to determine whether a particular book is published by a micropress that publishes the work of other authors, or a press that has been set up solely in order to publish a single author's work, by that author (where a book is essentially self-published but says "Published by So-and-So Books" on it).

Do you include textbooks and industry-specific publications that aren't distributed through the usual trade distribution channels, or not?
posted by Jeanne at 7:47 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Bowker does a lot of analysis of this kind of thing - here's their stats on ebooks in the United States, 2007-2012. And they also have a book, Self-Publishing in the United States, 2006-2011: Print vs. Ebook. You might be able to get the book through a library that has the right kind of ProQuest subscription - Bowker is a ProQuest company. That's only the US, though. And this is only for books with an ISBN, so really old-school vanity publishing might not be included?

Adding in other countries might be tricky because you're probably going to get country-specific analyses that might use different definitions of "book" and "publisher."
posted by mskyle at 8:00 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

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