Multiplication Center

factoids about the books and publishing

November 1, 2007

Warren Bird, my colleague at Leadership Network, has collaboratively authored 19 books, most recently 11 Innovations in the Local Church: How Today’s Leaders Can Learn, Discern, and Move into the Future (by Elmer Towns, Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird). Here are some statistics he gives people who ask about Christian books and publishing:

  • Christian Publishers receive a combined total of about 250,000 manuscripts per year. All Christian publishers combined (slightly over 300) publish approximately 12,000 new tittles per year. This indicates that about 5% of manuscripts get published. (Christian Market Writers Guide 2007, Sally Stuart, WaterBrook Press)
  • Publishers sold 3.1 billion books in 2006, up just 0.5 percent from the 3.09 billion sold the year before, according to Book Industry Trends 2007, an annual report that looks at sales in the United States. The strongest growth segment in publishing last year continued to be religious books, where 263.4 million were sold. Sales of Bibles, testaments, hymnals and prayer books, however, slid 6.2 percent, to 66.2 million. (NY TIMES 6/1/07, “Sales Barely Up” article by Motoko Rich)

  • Religious Book Sales continued to grow strongly in ’06, according to the Book Industry Trends 2007. With an increase of 5.6% in net revenue, the religion segment was the highest growth category in dollar sales. It also led unit sales in all categories, with a rise of 3.1%. (Christian E-Tailing 5/4/07)

  • Book Numbers Way Up: Bowker has implemented a new methodology resulting in a huge increase in their estimate of new book titles published annually. The ’07 count is 291,920 vs. 171,920 a year ago. (Publishers Lunch 5/31/07)

  • Biggest factor in purchase: over 70% of readers bought [a book] because someone you know said you need to read it. (IPSOS research)

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