book boom

This appetizer cited in Publisher’s Lunch is a bit mind-blowing: the number of self-published (or “on demand” books) is outpacing the number of books published by . . . um, publishers.

“Our statistics for 2008 benchmark an historic development in the U.S. book publishing industry as we crossed a point last year in which On Demand and short-run books exceeded the number of traditional books entering the marketplace,” said Kelly Gallagher, vice president of publisher services for New Providence, N.J.-based Bowker. “It remains to be seen how this trend will unfold in the coming years before we know if we just experienced a watershed year in the book publishing industry, fueled by the changing dynamics of the marketplace and the proliferation of sophisticated publishing technologies, or an anomaly that caused the major industry trade publishers to retrench.”

I don’t think you can chalk this up to retrenchment. A lot of people want to have their name on a book, and the technology is there to make it happen. So much for those who say the book is dead.  I think we’re setting a record with over a half million new books entering the market.

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