The latest short data report from ProQuest research affiliate Bowker showed traditional print publishing holding up very nicely, thank you, in the U.S. The Bowker release stated that: “production of print books by traditional publishers in the USA declined from 309,957 titles in 2012 to a projected 304,912 titles in 2013. According to the company, the two per cent decrease reverses the sector’s growth in 2012 over 2011, but points to a relatively stable market for print works despite competition from e-books.”
Meanwhile, “the non-traditional publishing sector saw a far more significant decline over 2012. Its print output for 2013 was projected at 1,108,183 titles, a decrease of 46 per cent from its production of 2,042,840 titles in 2012 and a dramatic reverse from its 55 per cent growth in 2012 over 2011,” according to Bowker. However, in Bowker’s terms, this is primarily “reprint houses specialisng in public domain works and … presses catering to self-publishers and ‘micro-niche’ publications. Their titles are marketed almost exclusively on the web and print-on-demand.”
Whether this consolidation in publishing really correlates, as Han Huang, director of product management for Data Licensing at Bowker suggests, with reports “that e-book sales growth has been slowing” is a different question. Publishing numbers in general are looking very solid at present, according to other reports, with both ebook and print holding up well. If nothing else, the Bowker numbers at least underline how print seems to be doing just fine in the disrupted digital publishing environment.