Not long ago I published an interview with Ian Coburn about the perils and pitfalls waiting for the budding author. Even if you manage to pick your way through the mine fields of agents, editors, and publishers you are still not home free. You still have to sell the damn thing!

I was reading some press releases this morning and found one from R.R. Bowker, the Books In Print database owners. Books in Print as the name suggests keeps tabs on the US book industry and is a comprehensive catalog of books on the market. I believe the requirement for inclusion is to have an ISBN allocated. Bear in mind though that many ‘self publishers’ of niche material do not bother with this step, and so the numbers below are somewhat lower than reality.

R.R. Bowker has released their statistics for 2006, and from an authors perspective they are make for some daunting reading, in total there were 291,920 new titles. When you consider that the average bookstore only stocks a few thousand titles, competition for shelf space is pretty fierce.

One of the other interesting statistics is that the largest growth area was in adult fiction, which showed a 17% increase from 2005, with a total of 42,076 new titles.

Conversely juvenile literature showed an 18% decline. I found that aspect rather odd considering the popularity of Harry Potter. I would have thought that many new authors would be trying to exploit that particular sand-box.

So if you are planning a book, you now know what you are up against!

Simon Barrett

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