From Publishing Perspectives:
At the 66th Frankfurt Book Fair last week, self-publishing and the self-published authors were in the eye of the storm, at the crest of the tsunami wave of the published books worldwide.
The total number of books in print hit 28 million worldwide in 2013 , as calculated by all the titles that acquired ISBNs. In the United States, some 390,000 ISBNs were taken by the self-published authors, while approximately 300,000 were solicited by the traditional trade publishers.
. . . .
A panel featured as part of the International Self-publishing Program, asked the question “Are there too many books?” And the answer, may surprise you.
“No, there are not too many books,” said Jonas Lennermo, CCO of Sweden’s Publit, but with reservations. He noted that the very idea of the long-tail economy never intended to imply that those books that sell in small quantities — those towards the end of the tail — would be simply sell because of their very existence, of their own accord. The sheer number of books means that the long tail gets too fat, is all but impossible to move. “We need a new idea about how to market the long-tail,” he said.
Joanna Penn, a successful author and entrepreneur, founder of The Creative Penn, was much more direct: “You don’t say to a child to stop painting a picture just because there are too many paintings already in the world.” She finds the explosion of creativity wonderful and rewarding, to both authors and readers. “The publishing is no longer dominated by old white men. We can see new, exciting developments happening, and the diversity we never have had. Today, authors can reach readers beyond any of the traditional industry’s paths. There are niches and micro-niches emerging everywhere: either on the creative or on the receptive side of publishing.”
. . . .
Although the book market is changing with light speed, passion for writing and reading in the publishing industry remains the same. Should Gabriel Zaid have sat among the debaters he would surely have supported the new developments and the varied choice we are enjoying thanks also to brave entrepreneurial authors like Joanna Penn. Shall we have the time to read all 28 million books in our lifetime? Maybe this is not really so important. Or, in Zaid’s words: “The truly cultured are capable of owning thousands of unread books without losing their composure or their desire for more.”
Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives