The pace of titles produced in segments outside of the traditional publishing segments quickened again in 2009, according to statistics from R.R. Bowker. While the number of titles in the traditional segments slipped by 0.5% last year, titles produced in what Bowker called the nontraditional segment jumped 181%, to 764,448. Those books came from a number of sources, including self-publishing companies like CreateSpace and Author Solutions, as well as from companies that do reprints of public domain titles using print-on-demand.
The largest of the latter companies is BiblioBazaar, which produced 272,930 titles last year. Founded by the team that launched BookSurge, which was sold to Amazon and is now known as CreateSpace, BiblioBazaar draws on out-of-copyright material from libraries, archives, and other partners to produce print books through POD in multiple countries and markets, according to Mitchell Davis, president of BiblioBazaar’s parent company, BiblioLife. All of the company’s content is in the public domain, basically “historical reprints,” Davis said, with foreign-language books the fastest growing category. As part of the BiblioBazaar process, the company will create a cover file and book block that can be printed at multiple POD vendors, and produces metadata to sell that book in global sales channels.
Davis called BibloBazaar’s operation a “classic long-tail business,” something that is likely to be true for most other companies that fall into the nontraditional segment, including two of BiblioBazaar’s largest competitors, Books LLC, which produced 224,460 books, and Kessinger Publishing, which did 190,175. The largest self-publishing company was Author Solutions, whose Xlibris and AuthorHouse imprints produced 10,161 books and 9,445 books, respectively. CreateSpace did 21,819 books last year. How many units these companies sell is beyond the scope of the Bowker report; in Lulu.com’s prospectus, released last month, the self-publisher said it sold 2.3 million book units in 2009 and generated revenue from third-party distribution of $1.8 million. Lulu produced 10,386 titles in 2009, according to Bowker.
Among the traditional segments, fiction output fell 15.7%, although with 45,181 new books or editions released last year the segment remained the largest category. The children’s category rebounded after a down 2008, with output up 4.3%, to 32,348 titles.