Book industry statistics are helpful for everyone in the book industry. They help authors and publishers understand where readers are purchasing books and whether current trends show an increase in print book, e-book, or audiobook sales.
Additionally, these statistics indicate how much revenue the book industry earns, as well as how much it costs to create and publish each book. When you’re determining whether to self-publish or partner with a traditional publishing house, it helps to learn about the biggest companies in the book industry.
There are plenty of large, famous companies in the book-publishing industry. Some of their names are likely even visible on the book spines on your bookshelf!
When you research the biggest companies in the book industry, you can divide them up into a few categories. For instance, investigate both traditional publishing and self-publishing. After all, the top Amazon book listing might be self-published! Learning about the top publishers in the world can help you decide where to publish your masterpiece.
Although publishing industry trends are constantly changing, there have been a few consistent top book publishers in the world over the years. Here’s a look at some of the biggest publishing houses of 2022:
These companies generally focus on print books. If you’re more interested in digital publishing, look into the top e-book publishers as well.
E-book publishers are on the rise as the world becomes more digital. And as you might guess, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is a perennial top e-book publisher. Kindle offers great accessibility to both self-published authors and their readers, so it’ll likely remain near the top of the list.
However, other digital publishing companies have given Kindle a run for its money in recent years. Authors hoping to self-publish their e-books have options like Smashwords, Draft2Digital, Lulu, and Kobo Writing Life. The e-book industry doesn’t show signs of slowing down, so these companies might become top publishers in the near future.
There are also some huge publishing companies not included in this list. For example, McGraw-Hill is perhaps the largest educational publisher around, and Scholastic Inc. might have published your favorite children’s book.
Publishing print books is big business. As you research book industry statistics, though, don’t forget about the fast-growing digital publishing industry!
The digital publishing industry has been catching up to the traditional-publishing market in recent years. Printed media will likely always be available, but web-based content is quickly gaining popularity. If you’re interested in digital publishing, you should get to know the different types available to you and your readers.
When you think of digital publishing, your mind likely goes to e-books. However, there are several different types of digital publishing! Think of all the online magazines, newsletters, news websites, and even blogs. These are all aspects of the digital publishing market.
As an author, you’re likely an avid reader. And if you’re like most readers, you’ve probably enjoyed an e-book or two. Since so many people are turning to e-readers and tablets instead of print books, digital publications are gaining traction in the traditional publishing industry.
E-book sales are on the rise, and the e-book industry has both readers and authors to thank for the boon.
Many readers love the convenience of purchasing an e-book. Instead of venturing to a bookstore, they can buy their next favorite novel from their e-reader or tablet, and the entire book is immediately at their fingertips. Additionally, some readers see an e-book as an eco-friendly option to a print book. Although they don’t get the same satisfaction of turning those lovely paper pages, they still reap the benefit of the author’s voice and storytelling ability.
On the author side, it’s just easier for many self-published authors to publish an e-book as opposed to a print book. The digital publishing industry is accessible to indie authors because it’s simpler for DIY authors to self-publish than find a literary agent and sign a book contract with a traditional book publisher. And since e-books allow writers to reach an enormous audience over the internet, e-book sales might come easier than physical book sales.
Thanks to the increase in digital publication, the US book industry is raking in the profits!
Fortunately for authors, book industry sales are still strong in the United States. According to a recent study, the US book industry earned almost $26 billion in 2020. And it’s not only classic titles that are bringing in book sales. That same study showed that over four million new books were published in 2021.
As long as this upward trend continues, average book industry sales numbers will be on the rise for years to come.
It’s easy to get engrossed in book industry statistics—and it can help you as an indie author! This data will teach you what genres people are reading, where they find their books, and whether they prefer a print book, e-book, or audiobook.
If you’re an indie author hoping to increase your book sales, it’s also important to have a book-marketing plan. This could include an author website, a social media presence, and even appearances on a podcast. However, part of your plan should also be to understand how much the average book sells in the book industry.
How many books does an average book sell in the book industry?
In recent years, the average book has sold about 500 copies in the United States. If you invest in marketing your book—and make it available in both print and digital options—you could raise that average!
However, when you look at book-sales averages, keep in mind that you’re actually considering several different industries. These include
Overall book sales have been on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Readers are dedicating more time and money to the written arts, especially through online purchases. Here are a few book sales statistics from the year 2021:
In other words, the book industry is booming. Although not everyone can be a best-selling author, it never hurts to try to ring up as many book sales as possible!
You’ve probably read something from the New York Times Bestseller List. However, did you know that those books sell between 5,000 and 10,000 copies in one week?
The overall sales number isn’t the only criterion for earning the “bestseller” title. Your sales also have to be diverse. Instead of selling all the books in one place, you must spread the sales around. For example, a bestselling author could sell a few thousand Amazon Kindle books, plus print books through retailers like Barnes & Noble. They could be on their way to selling a million copies!
An author’s income on book earnings varies depending on several different factors, including
Book royalties range anywhere from 10–70 percent, but the higher percentages don’t come overnight. If you’re a self-published indie author, it could take years to earn one million book sales. Since writers who are backed by large traditional publishers have resources like professional book marketers and literary agents, indie authors need to take into account the cost of administration and support services to help boost their own book sales.
Regardless of what kind of book you’re publishing, you’ll need to budget for some administration and support services. These might include a fixed cost such as the annual fee to keep your author website online or an indirect cost like purchasing an artist’s image for your book cover. In fact, these costs are a large component of the book industry’s annual spend.
The book industry spends serious money on book-processing charges. Professionals like literary agents, editors, and printing teams all earn salaries from the industry. These are just some of the costs that publishing houses need to account for when they determine their profits.
In the United States, the book industry is currently worth about $26 billion. If you consider large publisher Simon & Schuster’s profit margin of 21.4 percent in 2021 as the benchmark, that means that the book industry spends about $20.4 billion in overall costs!
The book industry has generated smaller institutions that are imperative to publishing. Here are a few support services you’ll need to consider, along with some estimated costs:
In addition to the support services, you’ll need to pay some publishing fees. These will vary depending on whether you publish a print book or an e-book and whether you work with a traditional publisher or a self-publishing company.
In general, digital publishing costs less than traditional publishing. When you publish an e-book, you’ll still need to invest in services like book-cover design and professional editing. However, you won’t have to worry about paying for the ink, paper, labor, and shipping that print books require.
In other words, it takes less time and resources to create an e-book than a print book. Despite the potential costs, you can boost your book sales with a print or digital publisher—as long as you have a strong team to help you!
Sure, we focus on helping you create great books. However, we also love educating our clients on book industry statistics! The more you understand about the book industry, the more successfully you can publish and market your book.
We offer expert, affordable, and personalized service to authors of all genres and experience levels. Visit our website to learn how we can help