The production of traditional books rose 1% in 2007, to 276,649 new titles and editions, but the output of on-demand, short run and unclassified titles soared from 21,936 in 2006 to 134,773 last year, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by R.R. Bowker. The combination of the two categories results in a 39% increase in output to 411,422. Although it has tracked production of on-demand titles in the past, this is the first year the company has broken out the segment to better show the differences in the traditional categories (such as biography, fiction, juvenile) and the on-demand segment.
The new segment includes traditional books printed by mainstream publishers using print-on-demand technology, public domain titles published through p-o-d as well as titles from self publishers and very small independent press that use p-o-d. Kelly Gallagher, general manager of business intelligence for Bowker, said that all three areas played a role in the unprecedented jump in output. It’s not possible to determine at this point whether the spike in on-demand titles is an aberration or the beginning of a long-term trend.
Among the traditional categories, the biggest gain in output occurred in literature, which rose 19%, to 9,796 titles, while fiction was close behind at a 17% increase to 50,071 titles; fiction is also the single largest category. Seventeen categories had a drop in output, with the largest decline in business with title output down 12%, to 7,651. Output in personal/financial titles fell 8%, while publication of religious text dropped 5%. Juvenile title output fell 1%, to 30,063.
Between 2002 and 2007, production of traditional titles rose 29% compared to a 313% increase in the on-demand segment resulting in an overall increase of 66% in the five-year period.