ho says print is dead? The book industry reported a colossal 514 percent surge last year in print-on-demand titles, giving a much needed boost to traditional publishing which was flat overall in numbers of books produced in 2007.
Print on demand (POD) is a digital technology and business model in which new copies of a book are not produced until an order has been received.
The tremendous growth in POD was fueled by large publishers keeping back list books in print, by small independent presses, and by increasing numbers of authors turning to self-publishing, according to figures released yesterday by RR Bowker, the book industry source of statistical data. The actual number of books printed on demand last year was 134,773, up from about 22,000 in 2006.
It’s too early to tell if this phenomenon is a sustainable trend or an one-year spike, Bowker reported.
Although traditional book publishing turned in a flat performance overall in 2007, with a meager bottom-line gain of just one percent, there was good news for novelists and aspiring writers. The biggest category winners were Fiction and Literature, with 50,071 new fiction titles introduced in the U.S. last year, up 17 percent from 2006. Similarly, there was an 19 percent rise in new literature books last year, to 9,796. Travel books also took off, up 8 percent.
Those nice gains, however, were offset by steep drops in other areas of publishing, including the number of new Business titles, down 12 percent from 2006, and also Economics books with an 11 percent decline. There were also dips in Religion and History.
Finally, Bowker noted that juvenile titles, which make up more than one out of every 10 new books introduced into the U.S. market, were “down again slightly last year and has now seen steady erosion in each of the last three years since the Harry Potter-influenced peak in 2004.”