Self-publishing boosts US print output

Self-publishing boosts US print output

New figures suggest that recent growth in the self-publishing market has led to the first increase in print book output in the US in four years, while the print-on-demand industry’s growth has declined 69%.

Preliminary figures from Bowker, the US bibliographic information services company, are leading it to project that between 2010 and 2011, traditional print book output increased by 6%, from 328,259 titles to 347,178 books, which it says was “driven almost exclusively by a strong self-publishing market".

“This is the most significant expansion in more than four years for America’s traditional publishing sector, but removing self-publishing from the equation would show that the market is relatively flat from 2010,” Bowker said in a statement.

In comparison, the triple-digit growth enjoyed by the POD and reprint market ended, with the sector’s shrinking by 69% from 2010 to 2011.

Kelly Gallagher, vice-president of Bowker Market Research, said:  “Transformation of our industry has brought on a time of rich innovation in the publishing models we now have today. What was once relegated to the outskirts of our industry—and even took on demeaning names like ‘vanity press’ is now not only a viable alternative but what is driving the title growth of our industry today . . .

"Coupled with the explosive growth of e-books and digital content—these two forces are moving the industry in dramatic ways.”

As to the drop in POD output, Gallagher said it was important to view the figures in context. “The last few years of Reprint/POD output has shown explosive growth that was simply not sustainable,” he said. “Despite this year’s decline, the output from this sector is still up about 15 percent over 2009. It continues to be a vibrant sector of the market.”
E-reading company Kobo today (6th June) announced it had launched a self-publishing portal, Kobo Writing Life, allowing independent publishers and authors to publish in e-pub format.