Home » Self-Publishing » Self-Published ISBNs Hit 786,935 in 2016

Self-Published ISBNs Hit 786,935 in 2016

22 October 2017

UPDATE: Data Guy just posted the following:

FWIW, of the 1,417,793 ebooks that have sold 1 or more US copies in the last 6 months:

653,188 had ISBNs
764,605 didn’t

And that’s ebooks from ALL types of publishers, not just indies.

From Publishers Weekly:

A new report issued by Bowker found that a total of 786,935 ISBNs were issued to self-published authors in 2016, an 8.2% increase over 2015.

According to the report, ISBNs for print books rose 11.3% to 638,624 titles, while e-book ISBNs for self-publishers fell 3.2% to 148,311. Since Bowker measures the number of self-published books by ISBN, its count does not include e-books released by authors through Amazon’s KDP program, as they use ASIN identifiers rather than an ISBNs.

The 11% increase in print self-published titles was a slower gain than the 34% increase in 2015 over 2014. While the number of self-published e-books did fall in 2016, the decline was slower than the 11% drop reported in 2015.

“Overall, we believe that these numbers point toward an ongoing maturation and stabilization of the self-publishing industry,” said Beat Barblan, director of identifier services at Bowker.

Amazon’s CreateSpace was by far the largest publisher of self-published print books, releasing 501,043 titles. The output marked an increase of 18.2% over 2015. Lulu was second, publishing 41,907 titles in the year, a decline of 5.1%. Coming in third was Blurb, which released 21,365 self-published titles last year. Author Solutions released 19,270 self-published print titles (through multiple imprints) last year, for a decline of 6.4%.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

Self-Publishing

16 Comments to “Self-Published ISBNs Hit 786,935 in 2016”

  1. “Author Solutions released 19,270 self-published print titles (through multiple imprints) last year”

    I am astounded that there are still 19,270 people who have not read the negative information about Author Solutions.

    • I can run the numbers a dozen different ways to demonstrate AS is not an attractive option for an author who wants to make money.

      We can also demonstrate that such information is very widespread, and easily available to anyone interested. Specifically, three of the top eight returns from today’s Google of AS are critical.

      But, the real data fail to confirm what we would expect. That usually means our expectations are wrong. We should probably accept that a subset of writers want what AS provides for their own reasons. They are not using our standards.

      When the same thing happens, year after year, while information increases year after year, then somebody really does want their product, and it doesn’t matter what I think about the product or their choice. They don’t care what I think. They don’t care about my numbers. They don’t care about my economic analysis.

      There is a demand, and AS is meeting it.

      • The real data, furnished by Data Guy, demonstrate that Author Solutions are a total failure as a publishing company. They are, however, very successful as a scam. The definition of a scam is that the operator promises to meet a demand and fails to do so. So while there may indeed be demand for the services A.S. pretend to provide, there is no evidence at all of any demand for the services they actually do provide. They charge for what they cannot deliver.

        Googling ‘Author Solutions’ will not necessarily help the unwary writer, as the company operates under many different names, some of them (as we have seen) in so-called partnership with relatively legitimate traditional publishing houses.

    • You shouldn’t be astounded. It’s a simple thing: people don’t read. They don’t research, they don’t understand half of what you try to tell them, and some simply don’t believe you. I’ve seen it time and time again, to the point that I seldom try to explain things or steer people away from their naive path. Live and learn, yeah?

      Back on topic, I only ever had ISBNs on the stuff Smashwords said I had to have it on. Never anywhere else. I guess I’ll have to get some for the POD editions, when I get around to them.

  2. Actually the number of self-pubbed books *could* include Amazon ebooks, as nothing precludes them having their own ISBNs. Amazon lists them if they have them, but internally they only use the AISN. So it says bupkis about Amazon, and I know this because my books all have ISBNs on KDP.

    Furthermore, plenty of indie writers don’t bother with ISBNs at all. So this is all barely one step up from reading the entrails of goats.

  3. PG, I have a question about ISBN’s. Why can USA people not buy ISBn’s in Canada where they are far less expensive. For instance we have a family member who lives in USA who holds Canadian citizenship.

    Is there some kind of corporate protect, we dont know about that doesnt allow, like medicines, to be bought across borders bec our congress is protecting big pharma?

    • As a prelude, I’m not an expert on Canadian ISBN’s, USAF, and will be happy to have my understanding corrected and elaborated by Canadian visitors.

      In Canada, the ISBN service is operated by the Library and Archives of Canada, which performs for Canada many of the functions that The Library of Congress performs in the US.

      The Library and Archives provide ISBN services for Canadian publishers. The website defines that term as follows:

      “Canadian Publisher” means a person or entity who:

      – makes a publication available in Canada, and
      – publishes from an official office of business located within Canada, and
      – indicates that the published material’s place of publication, when it is given, is within Canada, and
      – has at least 75% of its employees based in Canada

      Here’s the link to ISBN Canada for more info: https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/isbn-canada/Pages/isbn-canada.aspx

      Elsewhere on this page, language clarifies that a Canadian Publisher also includes a Canadian self-publisher that meets the same requirements.

      • Thanks PG, that’s a lot of regulation to try to make sure everything happens in canada, including the printing perhaps iof hard copy books must be in canada [but that cant be right, surely many canadian publishers publish/print in Asia, for instance].

        It says ‘person” so that could maybe be an indie author, who make publication avail in canada, and who has an office in canada [bedroom in the house>] and 75% of employees based [live or are only back and forth based? in Canada]… and it you are only a one person press, at least 75% of you has to be presently based in canada.

        I wonder why they pinned it so tightly. Just think of the income they could have if they sold over borders.

        Thanks again PG, that helped many of us.

        • The thing is, they can’t add income by selling over borders. First, they don’t charge money and are not set up to do so; and second, as I understand it, selling across borders would violate legal monopolies on ISBNs in those countries. The last thing the Canadian government wants to do is provoke a trade war with Donald Trump by treading on Bowker’s turf.

  4. ISBNs are served by national agencies, some of which are sponsored (free) and some of which are not. Luck of the draw for where you live.

    Regarding the OP, Bowker isn’t saying their number counts all indies — they’re just the ones they can see.

  5. FWIW, of the 1,417,793 ebooks that have sold 1 or more US copies in the last 6 months:

    653,188 had ISBNs
    764,605 didn’t

    And that’s ebooks from ALL types of publishers, not just indies.

  6. While I was at it, I took a look at Author Solutions.

    I tallied up the total online sales for the last 6 months for Author Solutions titles (i.e. all titles published by Xlibris, iUniverse, Trafford, Authorhouse, Balboa, Westbow, Archway, Booktango, Palibrio, etc.)

    Ouch.

    Out of the hundreds of thousands of authors ever “published” by Author Solutions, only 5,520 had any ebook sales at all in the last 6 months, while only 3,514 had even a single online print sale.

    Only 94 sold more than $500 worth of ebooks and only 128 sold more than $500 worth of print books online.

    Not a particularly effective publisher.

    Based on their long-ago claim of “more than 200,000 authors published,” what this says is that there’s less than a 0.1% chance of an Author Solutions author ever recouping even 10% of what Author Solutions charges them.

    But, of course, as far as ASI’s business model is concerned, that’s irrelevant.

  7. what’s really interesting about the data i that Bowker no longer claims that they are tracking the number of titles published.

    That’s what they said last year, but now they instead talk in terms of ISBNs registered.

    It’s good to finally see them get their facts straight.

  8. Thanks PG, that’s a lot of regulation to try to make sure everything happens in canada, including the printing perhaps iof hard copy books must be in canada [but that cant be right, surely many canadian publishers publish/print in Asia, for instance].

    It says ‘person” so that could maybe be an indie author, who make publication avail in canada, and who has an office in canada [bedroom in the house>] and 75% of employees based [live or are only back and forth based? in Canada]… and it you are only a one person press, at least 75% of you has to be presently based in canada.

    I wonder why they pinned it so tightly. Just think of the income they could have if they sold over borders.

    Thanks again PG, that helped many of us.

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