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Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Changing Face of the Publishing Industry

Bowker released its annual Self-Publishing in the United States Report, and it’s worth noting even for traditionally published authors because it underscores the changes that are taking effect in the publishing industry.

Bowker is the official ISBN Agency for the United States, US territories and Australia, which means that all ISBN’s are issued through Bowker for these jurisdictions. Bowker was once known as R. R. Bowker and got its start way back in 1872 when they founded Publishers Weekly. It first published Bowker’s Books in Print in 1948, and in 1968 they became the official ISBN Agency for the United States.

When my first book was published in the mid 1980’s, around 75,000 titles were published that year. Compare that to 2015 in which 727,125 ISBN’s were issued to self-publishers according to Bowker’s Self-Publishing in the United States Report. This does not account for titles published by traditional publishers such as Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins and Hachette.

Of those 727,125 ISBN’s (which represent a 375% increase over books published in 2010), 573,965 were printed books. To give you an idea of the increase in printed books as a result of changing technology, in 2010 only 114,215 titles were printed. By far, the biggest increase has been due to the rise and popularity of CreateSpace, who is owned by amazon and who printed 423,718 titles in 2015. Their nearest competitor—Lulu—printed 46,972 in that same period.

When we add ebooks into the mix, the field becomes even more cluttered. In 2010, only 38,763 ebook titles were generated. In 2015, there were 153,160—which actually showed a decrease from the year before, in which there were 172,511.

Self-publishers and small publishers (printing less than 100 books per year) are changing the face of the publishing industry. They are driving the growth and in an age in which almost anything can be sold on the Internet, they are changing the way in which books move from the author to the reader. 

Some years ago, there was a record store in every shopping mall. Today, they are increasingly harder to find. Some experts predict that books will go the same way: readers will browse and purchase online. 

As a reader, where do you buy your books? Do you still browse the shelves of a brick-and-mortar store? Or do you turn to an online source?

How do you find a new author? Is it through the recommendation of a librarian or physical bookseller, or is it online in social media? Or is it through advertising or other means?

p.m.terrell is the author of more than 20 books in several genres. A full-time writer since 2002, her first book was published in 1984, launching her computer business. It would take nearly 20 years for her to circle back around to her true love: writing. Take a look at her books, view the book trailers and read free excerpts at