June 15-30, 2004 Edition

U.S. Book Production Soars

to 175,000 New Titles,Trade

Up, University Presses Down

New Providence, NJ/05/27/04—R.R. Bowker, the leading provider of bibliographic information in North America, today released statistics on U.S. book publishing compiled from its Books In Print® database. Based on preliminary figures, Bowker is projecting that U.S. title output in 2003 increased a staggering 19% to 175,000 new titles and editions, the highest total ever recorded.

According to Bowker, the number of new titles released by the largest trade houses increased a modest 2.4%, to 22,914, while total output for university presses declined 2.2%, to 12,003. Since 1994, new titles have increased 50.8%, for all U.S. publishers, 24.4% for the largest trade houses, and 14.4% for university presses.

Overall, general adult fiction was one of only three categories to show a decline in 2003, dipping 1.6% to 17,021 new titles and editions. This was the first year since 1991 that fiction did not register an increase. Output of new juvenile titles continued its upward trend, increasing a stunning 45.3% to 16,283, while the adult categories of biography, history and religion also recorded double-digit increases. The large trade houses published many more history and religion titles, slightly more adult fiction, biography, and juvenile titles, and significantly fewer titles in the arts, business, and travel categories.

Adult fiction and juvenile literature accounted for almost 45% of all new titles published by the large trade houses. University presses saw a decline in title output for many categories, with psychology and religion showing significant increases.

In 2003, the average suggested retail price for adult hardcovers published by the largest trade houses decreased 8 cents to $27.62; adult fiction hardcovers increased 3 cents to $25.08; and adult non-fiction hardcovers decreased 2 cents to $28.78. Adult trade paperbacks decreased 25 cents to $15.65; adult fiction trade paperbacks decreased 36 cents to $14.71; adult non-fiction trade paperbacks decreased 22 cents to $16.01; and adult mass market paperbacks decreased 9 cents to $7.21. The average list price for juvenile hardcovers increased 2 cents, to $15.83.

“The growth in adult non-fiction categories, first seen in the months following 9/11, accelerated in 2003,” said Andrew Grabois, senior director of publisher relations and content development for New Providence, N.J.-based R.R. Bowker. “The question for publishers to consider in the coming months is whether the public’s interest in current affairs is a new swing of the pendulum or a passing historical moment. For now, publishers will try to produce new products to satisfy a market caught up in the drama of war, partisan politics and the cultural divide. In fact, the large trade houses are publishing so many new titles in the scholarly disciplines that one day soon they will surpass the annual output of university presses in these categories and begin to compete for the same customers.”

Other interesting statistics from Bowker include the following:

10,877 new publishers registered for International Standard Book Numbers in 2003, an increase of 226 (2.1%) over 2002. California is home to 16,787 publishers, far more than any other state, and more than double the 7,371 located in New York State. New York City still leads all U.S. cities and 45 of 50 states with 3,347 publishers. 51% of all new titles published in 2003 by the three largest print-on-demand publishers were fiction, poetry or drama. These categories accounted for 57% of all titles published since 1998 by the same POD houses.

The book production figures in this preliminary release are based on year-to-date data from U.S. publishers. If changes in industry estimates occur, they will be reflected in a later published report. Books In Print data represents input from 78,000 publishers in the U.S. The data is sent to Bowker in electronic files, or via BowkerLink™, Bowker’s password protected Web-based tool, which enables publishers to update and add their own data.

Books In Print is the only bibliographic database with more than 5.2 million audio, video, in-print, forthcoming and out-of-print titles. It is widely regarded throughout the publishing industry as the most authoritative and comprehensive source of bibliographic data available worldwide, and has been a trusted source of data in North America for over 50 years. Books In Print has been designated by both Barnes & Noble, Inc. and Borders Group Inc., the nation’s two largest book retailers, as their official database of record.

Founded in 1872, R.R. Bowker is North America’s leading provider of bibliographic information, and is also the official agency for assigning ISBNs in the United States. Summary statistics for U.S. Book Production is available on Bookwire, Bowker’s portal to the book trade, at The company’s flagship product, Books In Print®, is available on the Internet at, on CD-ROM and in hardbound print format. For more information, visit