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Big demand for books on demand

May 1, 2010 12:00 AM

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Bowker (New Providence, NJ) projects that traditional U.S. title output in 2009 was virtually unchanged. Output of new titles and editions dropped less than half a percent, from 289,729 in 2008 to a projected 288,355 in 2009.

The company reports an “extraordinary” year of growth for non-traditional books. Marketed almost exclusively on the Web, these books are largely on-demand titles produced by reprint houses specializing in public domain works and by presses catering to self-publishers and micro-niche” publications. Bowker projects that 764,448 titles were produced that fall outside Bowker's traditional publishing and classification definitions. This represents a 181% increase over 2008 — which doubled 2007's output — driving total book production over 1,000,000 units for the first time.

Bowker reports that in 2008, the production of print-on-demand books surpassed traditional book publishing for the first time. This trend continues: “Now more than twice the output of traditional titles, the market is dominated by a handful of publishers,” according to the company. “The top 10 publishers overall accounted for an astounding 74% of total titles produced in 2009.”