Do you know that statistics about book sales and industry trends can be helpful when considering your professional plans and setting your direction for the future?
But here’s one problem:
It’s hard to find good resources that would cover all the most important statistics about book sales in one place.
…I’ve pulled together some of the most interesting and relevant book sales statistics, facts, and trends that you should know if you’re involved in this market.
Looking at current trends can help you set realistic goals for the future.
- Physical Books vs. Digital Books
- Self Published Books Stats
- Audiobooks Statistics
- Amazon Book Sales Statistics
- What are the Most Popular Genres?
- Book Reading Demographics
- Access to Technology
- What Does This All Mean?
Physical Books vs. Digital Books
- It might seem that most everyone reads e-books on their tablet these days, but surprisingly, sales of digital books are down. Recent statisticsshow that e-books brought in $771 million in the US market between January and September 2018.Compare that to $800 million in 2017.
- For early 2019, e-book sales continued to decline, going down nearly 5% in revenue, having brought in only $244 million in sales in the first three months of the year. This was $10 million less than in the same quarter of 2018.
- Hard copy book sales for the month of August (2019) made up about 80% of all total book sales. This includes paperback, hardback, and children’s books.
- For the first half of 2019, individual unit book sales were down from 2018, when a total of about 675 million print books were sold in the US.
- Board books are the only exception to this, showing a +19% growth in sales revenue from last year!
Self Published Books Stats
In both hard copy and digital formats, self-published books have long been marginalized.
Nowadays, with more accessible printing options and digital publishing, they have become a legitimate niche and are here to stay.
Self-publishing has become a viable option for writers of all genres who chose to skip the search for a well-known publisher.
- By 2017, over 1 million books had been self-published in both digital and print formats. Many independent creatives and freelance writers are finding financial success in platforms such as Smashwords, an independent distributor of e-books.
- In 2018over 507,000 e-books were published representing over 142,000 independent authors. Independent authors are responsible for the marketing and distribution of their books. Without the help of the big publishers, they have to work for every sale.
“Print on demand options allow independent sellers to print hard copies of their books as orders come in, eliminating large up-front investment for print copies.” Melinda Dawson, Senior Editor whose goal is providing instant help in response to “write my paper for me ” requests.
The development of online platforms such as Smashwords and, of course, Amazon.com has made online marketing and digital distribution more accessible for independent writers.
- Some older studies estimate that self-published books have as much as a 30% market share of all digital ebook downloads.
Sales of audiobooks are skyrocketing in recent years! Audiobooks are the biggest book industry trend for the last 7 years.
- According to a report published in June of 2019 by the Audio Publishers Association, audiobook sales increased by nearly 25% between 2017 and 2018 and total sales approached nearly $1 billion!
- Most audiobooks are sold digitally. Over 90% of audiobooks are downloaded from the internet.
- There were over 44,500 audiobooks produced in 2018, an increase of over 5% from the year before.
Amazon Book Sales Statistics
- According to One Click Retail, Amazon.com sold $4.3 billion more in hard copy books compared to e-books in 2016.
- As of 2016, it is estimated that self-published books make up around 60% of the ebooks offered on Kindle Unlimited by Amazon.com
- Audible, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, is the largest audiobook producer and retailer in North America and offers over 100,000 unique titles.
What are the Most Popular Genres?
- Adult non-fiction revenue has grown an amazing 22.8% in the last five years!
- Young adult non-fiction has grown even more, with revenues’ growing nearly 40% in the same amount of time!
- According to Geoff Affleck, the top five selling categories for hard copy books on Amazon.com are:
- Memoirs and Biographies
- Self Help
- Religion and Spirituality
- Health, Fitness, and Dieting
- Politics and Social Science
- Meanwhile, for e-books the most popular categories are:
- Religion and Spirituality
- Biographies and Memoirs
- Business and Money
- Self Help
- Cookbooks, food, and Vine
- According to Book Ad Report, the following sub-genres make the most money:
- Romance and Erotica ($1.44 billion)
- Crime and Mystery ($728.2 million)
- Religious/Inspirational ($720 million)
- Science Fiction and Fantasy books ($590.2 million)
- Children and Young Adult ($160 million)
- Horror ($79.6 million)
“It’s interesting to note that most successful bestselling titles in the ebook category are fiction, while non-fiction dominates for hard copy sales.” Frank Nguyen, Marketing Specialist at Studicus.
Book Reading Demographics
We can’t take a look at book sales and statistics without taking a look at the facts of who is doing the reading.
Demographics are just as important as sales numbers if you want to use this information for your work.
So, who is reading in the US?
- In October of 2019, over 80% of adults, age 18 to 29, have read at least one book in the previous year. Older adults, possibly because they are not spending as much time studying and more time working, read slightly less.
- In the last year, between 67% and 72% of adults 30 and up (depending on the age bracket) claim to have read at least one book.
Share of adults who have read a book in any format in the last 12 months in the United States in 2019, by age group
- Over 80% of people who read books have at least some college education, if not a degree.
- In early 2019, found that 27% of adults have not read any books at all in the last year.
- Those who have not read in the past year are less likely to have any college education and are most likely to make $30,000 a year or less.
Access to Technology
- Hard copy, printed versions are by far the best selling and most popular form of books. 65% of adults say they have recently read a printed version of a book.
- At least 28% of adult readers enjoy both print and digital versions of published books.
- There are over 90.5 million e-reading devices in the US!
- Over 50% of the US population has a tablet.
- 78% have a laptop or desktop computer. And of those, 77% have an active internet service subscription.
All of this information means that between e-readers, tablets, household computers (not to mention the 265.9 million smartphones in the US), and widely available internet access – digital books and audiobooks have become a normal way to enjoy books.
What Does This All Mean?
All of these statistics for book sales, facts, and trends can be easily summed up with the following conclusions:
- Printed books are still going strong and continue to dominate the industry.
- Non-fiction is hugely popular right now, especially in printed formats.
- Fiction is more popular for digital downloads and e-readers.
- Audiobooks, especially in digital format, are the fastest-growing product in the publishing industry.
- Memoirs, biographies, romance, and suspenseful thrillers are the most popular genres in both print and digital editions.
- Self-publishing is a very viable option for independent authors.
With over 675 million books printed last year, booming audiobook sales, and a burgeoning market share for independent writers, the publishing industry is going strong.
We can expect a whole new slew of studies to help us analyze and understand this huge and continuously evolving market.
In 2022, over 788.7 million copies of printed books were sold in the United States. This figure was the second-highest sales mark for printed books in the 21st century, trailing only a record-setting 2021 with 843 million copies sold.What are the statistics of books sales? ›
From 788 million copies of print books sold in 2022, over 404 million were fiction books, and 360 million were nonfiction books. Over 52.9% of all print book sales in the US in 2022 were in the fiction category.Is the book industry growing? ›
|Report Attribute||Report Details|
|Market size value in 2022||USD 142.33 billion|
|Revenue forecast in 2030||USD 164.22 billion|
|Growth Rate||CAGR of 1.9% from 2022 to 2030|
|Base year for estimation||2021|
Book sales are declining, but not in the romance genre Romance books are on the rise, even as overall book sales are declining.Is the book industry declining? ›
Sales of print books in the US fell by 6.5% in 2022 compared to 2021 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan, Publishers Weekly has reported.Are books a declining market? ›
After soaring 18.9% in the first half of 2021 over the comparable period in 2020, unit sales of print books retreated in the first half of 2022, dropping 6.6% from 2021 levels. According to NPD BookScan, total first-half print sales were 362.6 million, down from 386.6 million a year ago.Why are book sales declining? ›
Sales of hardcovers, likely hurt by rising prices (prompted in part by supply chain problems), fell 10.4%, while trade paperback sales fell only 2.4%. Trade paperbacks accounted for 60% of unit sales in 2022, up from 57% in 2021, while hardcovers' share of the market declined from 33% in 2021 to 30% last year.How many sales makes a book successful? ›
Want to hit top 10? You'll need to sell roughly 300 for print, or 2,000+ copies for combined formats. Those numbers aren't exactly set in stone, but they're a pretty close approximation. To get onto Amazon's Bestseller Top 100 radar across all titles you're usually looking at about 1,000 sales of your book.What is the average number of sales per book? ›
The average self-published book sells 250 copies. The average self-published author makes $1,000 per year from their books. 33% of self-published authors make less than $500 per year. 90% of self-published books sell less than 100 copies.What is the book sales forecast for 2023? ›
Revenue in the Books market is projected to reach US$82.29bn in 2023.
This year, non-fiction books will outsell fiction by a good margin. Nonfiction genres like children's books, politics, memoirs and autobiographies, business and economies, self-help, and philosophy are expected to sell more in 2023.What is the outlook for book sales? ›
Since 2017, global book sales have had an average annual growth of -0.96%, dropping from $82.83 billion to $78.07 billion in 6 years. Projecting for the next 5 years, global book sales should reach $82.7 billion in 2027, with an average annual growth of 1.48%.What type of book sells more? ›
When all things are considered, the most popular book genre depends on the format and situation. The bestselling book genre is romance and the most profitable fiction book genre. Religious & inspirational books are the most popular non-fiction genre, whilst thrillers are the most popular audiobooks.What time of the year is best to sell books? ›
Leading up to the fall semester, late July and early August are the ideal times to sell your books. This is because companies know this is the last chance to acquire additional inventory prior to the start of classes.What is considered best selling for books? ›
Steinberg defined a bestseller as a book for which demand, within a short time of that book's initial publication, vastly exceeds what is then considered to be big sales.Why are people losing interest in books? ›
You may lose interest in reading because of poor comprehension, stress, or weighty responsibilities. Alternative entertainment options like music and movies could also make reading seem boring. But there are many benefits of reading, like preventing cognitive decline.Do books still have a future? ›
There is a bright future for printed books, a recent survey finds. According to the results, printed books will continue to be important, relevant, interesting and still very much appreciated compared to e-books and audiobooks.Why is reading losing popularity? ›
The report can be sum- marized in a single sentence: literary reading in America is not only declining among all groups, but the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young. electronic media, such as video games and the Internet, foster shorter attention spans and accelerated gratification.Why are bookstores disappearing? ›
Independent bookstores are getting squeezed from multiple directions, including competition from Amazon – whose massive purchasing power and low margins undercut brick-and-mortar operations – and consumer technology: ebooks, Kindles and tablets, and attention-stealing smartphones.Do people still buy books to read? ›
U.S. publishers sold 825.7 million print books in 2021, up 8.9% over the previous year, but Pew data shows that the share of Americans who read print books remained flat over that period, with readers increasingly picking up e-books and audiobooks.
Overcoming these Challenges
- Increase your Familiarity Factor. ...
- Shorter is Better. ...
- Become Irresistible.
The book marketplace has become over-saturated.
By 2020, Bowker had given out 40 million ISBN registrations to US publications (Dean Talbot, “Number of Books Published Per Year,” WordsRated, February 2, 2022).
Is writing a book profitable? Yes. If you want to make money writing books then you need to start treating writing like your full-time job. A lot of work goes into becoming a successful author, especially if you want to self-publish, as you'll be responsible for everything yourself.How many books sold is considered a best seller? ›
To achieve bestseller status on the Times not only do you have to sell at least 5,000 – 10,000 copies in one week, but these sales have to be diverse sales.What is the average profit per book sold? ›
Self-published authors can earn 40% to 60% royalties for the selling price of a book, while traditionally published authors typically earn 10% to 12% royalties. First-time authors willing to publish traditionally will receive a prepayment.What percentage of book sales go to author? ›
Royalty rates vary slightly, but on average, you can expect the following from traditional publishers: Hardcover sales: 15% Trade paperback sales: 7.5% Mass-market paperback sales: 5%How many books does a typical author sell? ›
Most self-published authors sell 250 books or less, regardless of how many different books they write. Traditionally published books sell around 3,000 copies on average, with only 250 of those sales in the first year. It's rare that books sell over 100,000 copies and even rarer to sell more than a million.What are publishers looking for in 2023? ›
- Personalization. ...
- Artificial Intelligence. ...
- Balancing Authority Content With Approachability. ...
- Audio Content. ...
- Video Content. ...
- Podcasts, Social Video And AI-Generated Texts. ...
- P2P Publishing Opportunities. ...
- NLP Tools.
- Keep Sales Content Organized. ...
- Track Sales Performance. ...
- Optimize Sales Growth Strategies with Personalized Training. ...
- Set Realistic Goals for Sales Growth Strategies. ...
- Create Open Communication Between Reps and Management.
Books will become cheaper and more easily accessible. Hypertext, embedded video, and other undreamt-of technologies will give rise to new poetic, rhetorical, and narrative possibilities. But a literary culture that has defined itself through paper books for centuries will surely feel the loss as they pass away.
Regardless of which list you want to make, to land on any bestseller list, generally you must sell at least 5,000 books in one week. This is the minimum sales goal. You may need to sell 10,000 copies in one week.How do I grow my book sales? ›
- Identify a target audience.
- Build an author platform.
- Design a book's cover.
- Optimize a book for effective promotions.
- Prepare your book marketing assets.
- Run a preorder campaign.
- Get book reviews.
- Launch a book and build buzz.
1. Young Adult. The number one top trending book genre for 2023 is Young Adult—I saw 104 mentions of it in the #MSWL hashtag.What books are in demand? ›
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Paperback) ...
- Final Offer (Dreamland Billionaires, #3) ...
- Thank You for Listening (Paperback) ...
- Would You Rather (Paperback) ...
- All Rhodes Lead Here (Kindle Edition) ...
- The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, #1) ...
- Ace of Spades (Paperback) ...
- Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)
However, books for kids ages 4 to 8 enjoyed the highest sales volume overall, with 88 million units sold in 2021 versus 64 million units of middle-grade books.What day is best to publish a book? ›
Since most major bestselling lists are compiled on Tuesdays, the wisdom seems to be, a Tuesday release gives the title a full week to garner sales and gain some kind of traction. Readers and booksellers alike look forward to Tuesdays because of the hot-off-the-press literary offerings.How to sell 100 books a day? ›
- 1) Write a lot of good stories. This point, though obvious, bears restating. ...
- 2) Have a great product description and a professional cover. This is self-explanatory. ...
- 3) Price your book right. ...
- 4) Promote your books. ...
- Related reading:
According to Guinness World Records as of 1995, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time with an estimated 5 billion copies sold and distributed.How does a book become popular? ›
So, you need two things: a great book that inspires readers to evangelize for it and press it into the hands of friends and family, and some amount of marketing to help get the ball rolling. (As novelist and marketer MJ Rose often likes to say, no one buys a book they haven't heard of.)Has TikTok increased book sales? ›
TikTok impact on book publishing
Many books that received a sales increase were almost a decade old, whilst others gained popularity before their date of release. As the majority of TikTok users are under the age of 35, young adult category books in particular have seen boosts.
One wrong decision could cause the business to spiral down and fail. A lot of business fail because of poor management. Improper delegation, poor employee management, financial mishaps, unhealthy culture, not being receptive to change, not expecting the unexpected; these are just some examples of poor leadership.Do book sales increase during recession? ›
It has long been known that more books are sold in times of financial difficulties than when times are good. One reason is that people spend more time at home, another is the link between studying and bad times.Why do books lose value? ›
In determining the value of a book there are three basic elements: 1) rarity, 2) condition, and, 3) demand. Books with the most value normally have all three of these elements, and the loss of any will likely result in a loss of value. Age of the book is not always a key factor in value.What happens to books that don't sell? ›
When sales slow down too much, the publisher will usually liquidate any unsold copies by massively reducing the price. If the books still don't sell, the remainders are usually destroyed through a process called 'pulping'.What is the biggest selling book ever? ›
According to Guinness World Records as of 1995, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time with an estimated 5 billion copies sold and distributed. Sales estimates for other printed religious texts include at least 800 million copies for the Qur'an and 190 million copies for the Book of Mormon.How many books become bestsellers a year? ›
Statistics. According to an EPJ Data Science study that used big data to analyze every New York Times bestselling book from 2008 to 2016, of the 100,000 new, hardcover print books published each year, fewer than 500 make it on to The New York Times Best Seller list (0.5 percent).Who is the most selling book? ›
The best-selling book of all time is the Christian Bible.What are the 5 reasons for no sale? ›
The late Zig Ziglar said that there are five main reasons why people don't buy, No need, No Desire, No Money, No Hurry, and No Trust.What are 4 general ways to increase sales? ›
- Increase the number of customers.
- Increase the average transaction size.
- Increase the frequency of transactions per customer.
- Raise your prices.
A Lack of Appreciation
There are countless reasons why salespeople quit. Better pay, a lack of career development opportunities, and a poor work-life balance are just a few that come to mind.
Pre-packaged food items, like chips and cookies, offer shelf-stable options to help ensure your stock doesn't go bad as you're building consumer awareness of your expanded offerings. Toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, toilet paper, and other grooming and personal care items are always in demand.What is considered successful book sales? ›
Qualifications aside, if you are a new writer at a big publisher and you've sold more than 10,000 copies of a novel you are in very good shape — as long as you didn't have a large advance. It should be easy for you to get another book contract. If you sold more than 5,000, you are doing pretty well.