Friday, March 06, 2009

The Ole Vanity/POD Shuffle

There's a statistical claim going around the net about the dismal performance, 70 percent, of new novels published every year by so-called traditional publishers not selling more than 500 copies. It's blatantly false.

First, there aren't 195,000 novels published every year as the statement claims.

According to Bowker.com for 2007, There were 50,071 new fiction titles introduced in the U.S. last year, up 17% from 2006, and the number of new titles in the category in 2007 was almost twice what it was as recently as 2002.

What is alarming is this: "While traditional book publishing was basically flat last year, there was a staggering rise in the reported number of “On Demand” and short-run books to 134,773, pushing the grand total for projected 2007 U.S. book output to 411,422 books. To maintain the continuity of statistics, Bowker is excluding this output from its traditional reporting and has begun tracking the On Demand industry segment separately."

Yeah Boy, Howdy. The claim made on these Web sites is bogus and seems to originate from a post by an author, sans source at this New Zealand Web siteHow many books do first-time authors sell? Over 195,000 new novels are published by traditional publishers in the U.S. every year. Of those, 70% sell fewer than 500 copies. Yikes..

Yikes indeed. Only 84 titles from iUniverse, now a part of Authorhouse sell 500 copies. This is a marriage of that pitiful and predictable fact and total books sold in 2005. Lies. Damned lies. And statistics.

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