U.S. Book Industry - Statistics & Facts

U.S. Book Industry - Statistics & Facts

Statistics and facts on the U.S. Book Industry

The revenue from the global book publishing market is forecast to slightly increase in the coming years, growing from around 113 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 to about 123 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. British company Pearson is the largest publishing house in the world as of 2015. Besides Pearson, Thomson Reuters, RELX Group, Wolters Kluwer and Penguin Random House are also leading book publishers in the world. The U.S. has by far the largest publishing industry, followed by China and Germany.

Projections for the book publishing industry in the U.S. are optimistic. Revenue from this industry in the U.S. is projected to reach to nearly 44 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, a significant increase from 2016. About 2.7 billion books were sold in the U.S. in 2015, a figure that has remained fairly consistent in the last few years. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” by J.K. Rowling was the best-selling print book in the U.S. in 2016, with nearly 4.13 million copies sold that year. Other bestselling print books that year include “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman.

E-books have been gaining pace in the book industry in the U.S. About 73 percent of publishers and authors had published their books digitally in the U.S. in 2015, and nearly 80 percent stated planning to publish e-books in 2016. Despite the rising popularity of e-books in the U.S. among publishers, forecasts show that the number of e-books readers is expected to slightly drop in the coming years. In 2015, there were 92.64 million people reading e-books in the country. By 2021, this figure is projected to drop to 88.45 million. Popular devices used to read e-books in the U.S. include Amazon’s Kindle, Apple’s iPad, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Kobo.

Audiobooks, which first gained popularity in the consumer market in the cassette tape and CD era, are back in the digital media era. The number of audiobook published in the U.S. increased dramatically in the last few years, going from about 7,200 published titles in 2011 to more than 35,500 published titles in 2015. Self-help/spirituality audiobooks are particularly popular in the U.S., as 35 percent of audiobook listeners in the U.S. stated preferring this audiobook genre.

Despite of the rise of digital book formats, printed books still have their space in the market. Unit sales of printed books in the U.S. saw a decline from 2008 until 2012, reaching the lowest figure of the last decade that year. After 2012, sales of printed books started to gain momentum, and have slightly increased up until 2015. Sales figures aside, printed books are still the preferred format of 65 percent of book readers in the U.S.

About 73 percent of book readers in the U.S. said they read books in any format. The average American aged 18 to 49 reads 12 books per year, while the average number of books read by 65 or older Americans is slightly higher – a total of 13 books per year. Mystery, thriller and crime genre is the leading book genre in the U.S., as nearly half of American consumers prefer this genre. About 33 percent of them stated history was their favorite book genre and 31 percent Americans said biographies and memoir was their preferred type of book.

Photo: sxc.hu / topfer

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Facts on the U.S. book industry
Key industry figures Statistic
Publishing market value in the U.S. 24.99bn EUR Details →
Unit sales of the U.S. book market2.71bn Details →
Best-selling cookery bookCooking for Jeffrey - Ina Garten Details →
Number of self-published books 727,125 Details →
Largest self-publishing companyAmazon's CreateSpace Details →
Estimated expenses of U.S. book publishers16.73bn USD Details →
Stock price of Pearson8.2 USD Details →
Stock price of Scholastic43.23 USD Details →
Leading children's print book publisherPenguin Random House Details →
Bookstores Statistic
Number of independent bookstores in the U.S. 2,311 Details →
Book store sales11.01bn USD Details →
Book store retail sales in Feb 2017744m USD Details →
Barnes & Noble retail sales4.03bn USD Details →
Number of people who shopped for books at any bookstore within the last 3 months141.92m Details →
Religious book sales revenue455.4m USD Details →
Number of writers and authors44,690 Details →
Highest earning author worldwideJames Patterson Details →
Highest earning children's author worldwideJeff Kinney Details →
Consumer behaviorStatistic
Share of consumers aged 18 to 29 who read books80% Details →
Share of consumers who read e-books28% Details →
Leading book genreMystery, thriller and crime Details →
Share of consumers who buy books as holiday gifts34% Details →
Share of consumers who read more than 15 books a year41% Details →
Most popular version of the BibleKing James Details →

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