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Data reveals book production trends

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Nielsen's annual book production figures for 2012 show a dip in production in the UK and the USA. The company collects book information from publishers and runs the ISBN Agency for UK and Ireland, which gives it an insight into the number of new publishers entering the market, as well as book production figures for English-language books published worldwide.

According to the company's data, the number of products (unique ISBNs) published in the UK during the last 12 years peaked in 2011. The figure for 2012 was lower but still higher than the levels of 2001 to 2010.

The figures for Ireland were different, however. The country saw a leap in book production during 2010, which then levelled in 2011. However, this was dwarfed by the peak at 112,370 last year, which, said Nielson, is entirely due to the output of a single POD (print-on-demand) publisher registered in Ireland.

Nielsen’s ISBN Agency for UK & Ireland recorded 3,657 new publishers purchasing prefixes in 2012. Julian Sowa, senior manager for Nielsen’s registration agencies, said: 'The upward trend has continued over the last 12 years and whilst not huge, it is consistently rising. Part of this on- going trend can be attributed to self-published authors and smaller publishers entering the market. Smaller, niche publishers are now much more able to produce print and digital publications economically.'

Of the 170,267 titles produced in the UK last year, the main formats included:

  • 3,600 audio books published in a variety of formats from cassette, disc and downloads;
  • 26,732 books were categorised as hardback;
  • 57,999 e-books in a variety of formats, including online, digital, DVD and CD, the largest proportion being categorised as e-books; and
  • 74,829 paperbacks/softbacks.

The remaining titles were of a variety of formats and include stationery, calendars and non- standard formats.

Sales of physical books in the Nielsen BookScan UK TCM continued to decline in 2012, with value sales down 4.6 per cent year-on-year, and volume sales down 3.4 per cent. However, this decline is less severe than seen in 2011, when value sales declined 6.3 per cent and volumes were down 7.2 per cent on the previous year.