How Many New Books are Published Each Year? (And Other Related Books Facts)

by | Jan 17, 2019


Each year a huge number of new book titles are written and published. According to Stephen Hawking in his recent book Brief Answers to the Big Questions, he states that “if you stacked the new books being published next to each other, at the present rate of production you would have to move at ninety miles an hour just to keep up with the end of the line.”

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) keeps track of books published by country. It estimates that 2.2 million new titles are published worldwide each year. It’s data is mainly from 2013. Here’s how it breaks down by country.:


Note that the U.S. trailed China, 304k vs. 440k in terms of new titles published. Table of this data: Books published per year. In terms of per capita data, from the International Publishing Association here is a chart of new titles per million inhabitants:


How many books have been published since the printing press was invented in 1440? According to Google, more than 130 million unique titles!

In the U.S. total books sold is about 840 million unit sales, with about 20% being e-books and 80% being print books.

A huge area of growth has been the “self-publishing” industry. Self-publishing means that that author mainly uses his/her own resources to publish the book without use of an established publishing house.


Audiobooks are also doing well. (Are Audiobooks Cheating?) Here’s Audiobook revenue over the past few years:


As addressed in a prior IFOD, e-books are not taking over the printed book: The Printed Book – Not Dead Yet!


And e-book revenues have decreased over the past few years.


Most authors don’t make very much money from their books. The top authors, however, can do quite well:


How much time do Americans spend “reading” (not necessarily books):


Related IFODs on books:

How many people finish books?

Books and Educational Attainment

Read Books – Live Longer!

Are Audiobooks Cheating?

Book Lists!


  1. How many publishing houses are there in the United States?

  2. I am looking for number of books sold annually since 1945.



  1. Why Don’t Books Have Ratings Like Movies? – Smart Mamas Read - […] More than 300,000 books are published annually in the U.S. according to information of the day’s website. […]

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