According to Bowker, publishers in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand released 375,000 new titles and editions in 2004. Anglo-American publishers published 80% of all new English-language books in 2004, while the U.S. alone accounted for 52% of the total. Including imported editions available in multiple markets, the total number of new English language books available for sale in the English-speaking world in 2004 was a staggering 450,000.
Adult fiction, poetry, drama and literary criticism accounted for 18% of all new English-language books available for sale in 2004, an increase of 21% over 2003; children's and young adult titles had a 12% share of new titles and editions, a 33% increase; science and technology, combined for a 9% share of new books in 2004, which was a 9% decrease from 2003; and computer books continued their long, post-1990s decline, holding on to 3% of new books published last year, a 14% decrease from 2003, and a 32% drop-off since 2001.
In other categories, religion and travel saw double-digit increases, while history, sociology, economics and education experienced significant declines.
The English-speaking countries remain relatively inhospitable to translations into English from other languages. In all, there were only 14,440 new translations in 2004, accounting for a little more than 3% of all books available for sale. The 4,982 translations available for sale in the U.S. was the most in the English-speaking world, but was less than half the 12,197 translations reported by Italy in 2002, and less than 400 more than the 4,602 reported by the Czech Republic in 2003. Almost three quarters of all books translated into English from other languages last year were non-fiction.
"The good news is that English language publishers, powered by the prolific U.S. publishing industry, produced 40% of all new book content in the world," said Michael Cairns, president of New Providence, NJ-based Bowker. "The bad news is that recent growth in new title output has been driven by increases in "soft" categories like adult fiction, religion and children's books. The precipitous decline of science and technology books last year alongside the five-year burst in the computer books bubble is troubling and does not augur well for the ability of the English-speaking countries to innovate and compete in the future."
For the U.S., according to Andrew Grabois, a consultant for Bowker, the declines in "hard" categories could have dire consequences, not only for the ability of its young people to compete in an increasingly flat world, but also for the ability of its publishers to draw on a large enough pool of talent to produce high quality technical books at reasonable cost.
The book production figures in this preliminary release are based on year-to-date data from publishers in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. If changes in industry estimates occur, they will be reflected in a later published report. Global Books In Print data represents input from some 200,000 publishers. The data is sent to Bowker in electronic files, and via BowkerLink(TM), Bowker's password protected Web-based tool, which enables publishers to update and add their own data.
Global Books In Print is the only bibliographic database with more than 14 million book, audiobook, and video titles. It is widely regarded throughout the publishing industry as the most authoritative and comprehensive source of bibliographic data available worldwide, and has been a trusted source of data in North America for over 50 years. Books In Print was designated by Barnes & Noble, Inc., the nation's largest bookseller, as the database of record for its stores and Web site.
Founded in 1872, Bowker is North America's leading provider of bibliographic information, and is also the official agency for assigning ISBNs in the United States. Summary statistics for U.S. Book Production is available on Bookwire, Bowker's portal to the book trade, at www.bookwire.com. The company's flagship product, Books In Print(R), is available on the Internet at www.BooksInPrint.com, on CD-ROM, in hardbound print format and as licensed data feeds. For more information, please visit www.bowker.com or call 1-888-BOWKER2 (1-888-269-5372).
Books In Print is a registered trademark of R.R. Bowker LLC. Other products and services may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.