Bowkers has released its latest complilation of book industry statistics. They show a 3.3 percent increase in the total number of titles (last year saw a 4.6 percent decrease). The big winner was adult fiction, up 17 percent; the loser was children’s books, down nearly a third over the past two years (that will change when the new Harry Potter comes out). Computer books and travel books are also down, probably in part because of on-line competition.
I’m never sure how to take information about sheer numbers of titles, since a lot of the crap that’s published barely deserves the term book. But Kelly Gallagher, general manager of the business intelligence business unit for Bowker believes she knows: “What these statistics for last year illustrate is that most publishers are done with retrenching for the time being. “But since the overall numbers have not yet returned to the level of 2004, it shows the industry is still being cautious about what books they add to their catalogs.”