29 Book Sales Statistics, Facts, and Trends in 2023 (2024)

29 Book Sales Statistics, Facts, and Trends in2023 (1)Do you know that statistics about book sales and industry trends can be helpful when considering your professional plans and setting your direction for the future?

But here’s one problem:

It’s hard to find good resources that would cover all the most important statistics about book sales in one place.

That’s why:

…I’ve pulled together some of the most interesting and relevant book sales statistics, facts, and trends that you should know if you’re involved in this market.

Looking at current trends can help you set realistic goals for the future.


  • Physical Books vs. Digital Books
  • Self Published Books Stats
  • Audiobooks Statistics
  • Amazon Book Sales Statistics
  • What are the Most Popular Genres?
  • Book Reading Demographics
  • Access to Technology
  • What Does This All Mean?

Physical Books vs. Digital Books

  1. It might seem that most everyone reads e-books on their tablet these days, but surprisingly, sales of digital books are down. Recent statisticsshow that e-books brought in $771 million in the US market between January and September 2018.Compare that to $800 million in 2017.
  2. For early 2019, e-book sales continued to decline, going down nearly 5% in revenue, having brought in only $244 million in sales in the first three months of the year. This was $10 million less than in the same quarter of 2018.
  3. Hard copy book sales for the month of August (2019) made up about 80% of all total book sales. This includes paperback, hardback, and children’s books.
  4. For the first half of 2019, individual unit book sales were down from 2018, when a total of about 675 million print books were sold in the US.
  5. Board books are the only exception to this, showing a +19% growth in sales revenue from last year!
29 Book Sales Statistics, Facts, and Trends in2023 (2)

Self Published Books Stats

In both hard copy and digital formats, self-published books have long been marginalized.

Nowadays, with more accessible printing options and digital publishing, they have become a legitimate niche and are here to stay.

Self-publishing has become a viable option for writers of all genres who chose to skip the search for a well-known publisher.

  1. By 2017, over 1 million books had been self-published in both digital and print formats. Many independent creatives and freelance writers are finding financial success in platforms such as Smashwords, an independent distributor of e-books.
  2. In 2018over 507,000 e-books were published representing over 142,000 independent authors. Independent authors are responsible for the marketing and distribution of their books. Without the help of the big publishers, they have to work for every sale.
    “Print on demand options allow independent sellers to print hard copies of their books as orders come in, eliminating large up-front investment for print copies.” Melinda Dawson, Senior Editor whose goal is providing instant help in response to “write my paper for me ” requests.
    The development of online platforms such as Smashwords and, of course, Amazon.com has made online marketing and digital distribution more accessible for independent writers.
  3. Some older studies estimate that self-published books have as much as a 30% market share of all digital ebook downloads.

Audiobooks Statistics

Sales of audiobooks are skyrocketing in recent years! Audiobooks are the biggest book industry trend for the last 7 years.

  1. According to a report published in June of 2019 by the Audio Publishers Association, audiobook sales increased by nearly 25% between 2017 and 2018 and total sales approached nearly $1 billion!
  2. Most audiobooks are sold digitally. Over 90% of audiobooks are downloaded from the internet.
  3. There were over 44,500 audiobooks produced in 2018, an increase of over 5% from the year before.

Amazon Book Sales Statistics

  1. According to One Click Retail, Amazon.com sold $4.3 billion more in hard copy books compared to e-books in 2016.
  2. As of 2016, it is estimated that self-published books make up around 60% of the ebooks offered on Kindle Unlimited by Amazon.com
  3. Audible, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, is the largest audiobook producer and retailer in North America and offers over 100,000 unique titles.

What are the Most Popular Genres?

  1. Adult non-fiction revenue has grown an amazing 22.8% in the last five years!
  2. Young adult non-fiction has grown even more, with revenues’ growing nearly 40% in the same amount of time!
  3. According to Geoff Affleck, the top five selling categories for hard copy books on Amazon.com are:
    1. Memoirs and Biographies
    2. Self Help
    3. Religion and Spirituality
    4. Health, Fitness, and Dieting
    5. Politics and Social Science
  4. Meanwhile, for e-books the most popular categories are:
    1. Religion and Spirituality
    2. Biographies and Memoirs
    3. Business and Money
    4. Self Help
    5. Cookbooks, food, and Vine
  5. According to Book Ad Report, the following sub-genres make the most money:
    1. Romance and Erotica ($1.44 billion)
    2. Crime and Mystery ($728.2 million)
    3. Religious/Inspirational ($720 million)
    4. Science Fiction and Fantasy books ($590.2 million)
    5. Children and Young Adult ($160 million)
    6. Horror ($79.6 million)

“It’s interesting to note that most successful bestselling titles in the ebook category are fiction, while non-fiction dominates for hard copy sales.” Frank Nguyen, Marketing Specialist at Studicus.

Book Reading Demographics

We can’t take a look at book sales and statistics without taking a look at the facts of who is doing the reading.

Demographics are just as important as sales numbers if you want to use this information for your work.

So, who is reading in the US?

  1. In October of 2019, over 80% of adults, age 18 to 29, have read at least one book in the previous year. Older adults, possibly because they are not spending as much time studying and more time working, read slightly less.
  2. In the last year, between 67% and 72% of adults 30 and up (depending on the age bracket) claim to have read at least one book.

Share of adults who have read a book in any format in the last 12 months in the United States in 2019, by age group

29 Book Sales Statistics, Facts, and Trends in2023 (3)
  1. Over 80% of people who read books have at least some college education, if not a degree.
  2. In early 2019, found that 27% of adults have not read any books at all in the last year.
  3. Those who have not read in the past year are less likely to have any college education and are most likely to make $30,000 a year or less.

Access to Technology

  1. Hard copy, printed versions are by far the best selling and most popular form of books. 65% of adults say they have recently read a printed version of a book.
  2. At least 28% of adult readers enjoy both print and digital versions of published books.
  3. There are over 90.5 million e-reading devices in the US!
  4. Over 50% of the US population has a tablet.
  5. 78% have a laptop or desktop computer. And of those, 77% have an active internet service subscription.

All of this information means that between e-readers, tablets, household computers (not to mention the 265.9 million smartphones in the US), and widely available internet access – digital books and audiobooks have become a normal way to enjoy books.

What Does This All Mean?

All of these statistics for book sales, facts, and trends can be easily summed up with the following conclusions:

  • Printed books are still going strong and continue to dominate the industry.
  • Non-fiction is hugely popular right now, especially in printed formats.
  • Fiction is more popular for digital downloads and e-readers.
  • Audiobooks, especially in digital format, are the fastest-growing product in the publishing industry.
  • Memoirs, biographies, romance, and suspenseful thrillers are the most popular genres in both print and digital editions.
  • Self-publishing is a very viable option for independent authors.

With over 675 million books printed last year, booming audiobook sales, and a burgeoning market share for independent writers, the publishing industry is going strong.

We can expect a whole new slew of studies to help us analyze and understand this huge and continuously evolving market.


29 Book Sales Statistics, Facts, and Trends in 2023 (2024)


Where can I find statistics on book sales? ›

The only database with reasonably accurate information is Nielsen BookScan, which reports point-of-sale data, but even that claims to represent only 75% of all retail sales.

Have book sales increased or decreased? ›

But since then, the print book industry has been making a comeback. Going from 591 million physical books sold in 2012 to 788.7 million in 2022, print book sales grew 33.45% over this period.

Are book sales decreasing? ›

Sales of print books in the US fell by 6.5% in 2022 compared to 2021 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan, Publishers Weekly has reported.

Are book sales going up? ›

Print book unit sales in the U.S. 2004-2022

Data showing how many books were sold in 2022 revealed that the printed book market remains healthy: a total of 788.7 million units were sold that year among outlets which reported to the source.

What genre of books sell the most? ›

The bestselling book genre is romance and the most profitable fiction book genre. Religious & inspirational books are the most popular non-fiction genre, whilst thrillers are the most popular audiobooks.

Where can I look up statistics? ›

Statistical Sites on the World Wide Web
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • Bureau of Justice Statistics.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
  • U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Economic Research Service.
  • Energy Information Administration.
  • National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Aug 18, 2022

Is the book industry declining? ›

Overall, industry revenue is expected to decrease at an annualized rate of 2.1% to $29.8 billion over the five years to 2022, including a decline of 0.2% 2022 alone....

Are people buying fewer books? ›

Americans are buying more books—but reading fewer of them than ever. What gives? The publishing industry is booming.

Is the book industry growing? ›

The books market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 1.9% from 2022 to 2030 to reach USD 164.22 billion by 2030.
Report AttributeReport Details
Market size value in 2022USD 142.33 billion
Revenue forecast in 2030USD 164.22 billion
Growth RateCAGR of 1.9% from 2022 to 2030
11 more rows

Why are bookstores declining? ›

The actual decline in used bookstores did indeed occur for economic reasons. But these reasons are related to the value or lack thereof in used books far more than to the obvious rises in rent. The fact is paperback books and discounted hardbacks have virtually eliminated a general interest in used books.

Is the book market oversaturated? ›

The number of books being published every year has exploded. marketplace is not able to absorb all these books and is hugely oversaturated.

Why is there a book shortage? ›

The seeds of the current problems were sown in the years of the pandemic, when sales of print books unexpectedly rose, increasing demand while people were leaving manufacturing jobs in droves that led to labor shortages in the printing and papermaking businesses.

What books are selling well right now? ›

  • Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. ...
  • Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. ...
  • Someone Else's Shoes by Jojo Moyes. ...
  • Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. ...
  • The Boys from Biloxi by John Grisham. ...
  • The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes. ...
  • Encore in Death by J.D. Robb. ...
  • Fairy Tale by Stephen King.
6 days ago

How many books does the average book sell? ›

Research suggests that the “average” self-published, digital-only book sells about 250 copies in its lifetime. By comparison, the average traditionally published book sells 3,000 copies, but as I mentioned above, only about 250-300 of those sales happen in the first year.

What is the #1 book ever sold? ›

According to Guinness World Records as of 1995, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time with an estimated 5 billion copies sold and distributed.

What is the number 1 most sold book? ›

  • The 20 Best-Selling Books of All Time.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  • The Catcher in the Rye.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • The Alchemist.
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Dec 28, 2022

What book genre is easiest to sell? ›

Romance. Romance books are easily the most profitable genre, with no sign of slowing down.

How can I get free statistics? ›

Prepare to geek out, and here we go:
  1. Google Dataset Search.
  2. Kaggle.
  3. Data.Gov.
  4. Datahub.io.
  5. UCI Machine Learning Repository.
  6. Earth Data.
  7. CERN Open Data Portal.
  8. Global Health Observatory Data Repository.
Dec 7, 2022

What is the most reliable source for statistics? ›

Reliable sources of statistics may include government and technical reports, scholarly journal articles, conference papers, white papers, and professional organizations.

How can I learn statistics for free? ›

Best Free Online Courses for Statistics
  1. Intro to Statistics– Udacity.
  2. Introduction to Statistics- Coursera.
  3. Intro to Descriptive Statistics- Udacity.
  4. Intro to Inferential Statistics- Udacity.
  5. Bayesian Statistics: From Concept to Data Analysis- Coursera.
  6. Introduction to Bayesian Statistics- Udemy.

Who dominates the book industry? ›

Like most mass media, commercial publishing is dominated by a handful of major corporations with ties to international media conglomerates.
The Organization and Ownership of the Book Industry.
Rank/Publishing Company (Group or Division)Home CountryRevenue in $ Millions
1 PearsonU.K.$9,330
2 Reed ElsevierU.K./NL/U.S.$7,288
3 Thomson ReutersU.S.$5,576
7 more rows

Do books still have a future? ›

There is a bright future for printed books, a recent survey finds. According to the results, printed books will continue to be important, relevant, interesting and still very much appreciated compared to e-books and audiobooks.

Will books be replaced by technology? ›

Today, in the age of the Internet, this thinking is becoming dominant that when something is required, we will take the help of the Internet. Technology is undoubtedly an important source of information for us, but it is not a way to replace books.”

Is there a book shortage? ›

There is no book shortage as such at the moment because the nature of the publishing cycle is that these books are planned many months ahead,” Daunt says.

What age group buys the most books? ›

The survey results showed that adults within this age category were more likely than older respondents to have read a book within the last twelve months.
Jul 27, 2022

What are the odds of selling a book? ›

Within the book publishing industry, it is agreed that the odds of an author getting their work published stands between 1% and 2%. Despite this low number, more than 95% of manuscripts received by publishers and agents are below the level the standard required.

What are publishers looking for in 2023? ›

Click the links below to jump to the publishing trend you want to read first, or scroll to read them all.
  • Artificial Intelligence Gains a Foothold In Writing.
  • AI Art Gains Steam.
  • AI Narrated Audiobooks Proliferate.
  • AI Drives Debate in the Publishing Industry.
  • New Formats and Serial Fiction Heat Up.
Jan 3, 2023

What are the current trends in books? ›

In this article, we list eight key publishing trends in 2022.
  • Use of AI For Publishing. Over the years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has occupied a hovering existence in our lives. ...
  • Using Audio-Visual Format For Scholarly Content. ...
  • Visible Growth of Self-Publishing. ...
  • Emergence Of Book Summary Platforms. ...
  • Conclusion.
Nov 5, 2022

What is the future of bookstores? ›

In 2021, the market size of the bookstore industry is $9.5 billion, an amount that had been decreasing at a 5.7% rate every year, on average, starting from 2016. This decline in revenue is due to many factors, namely, rising competition from online retailers and an increasing popularity of e-books.

Why are so many bookstores closing? ›

Two major factors have contributed to the 9.6% decrease in sales at bookstores since 2007: the growing popularity of e-books, and Borders going out of business. Both have caused serious drops in the number of bookstore sales, though competition with online retailers like Amazon is another major factor.

Why your book isn't selling? ›

Here, the book isn't selling because it isn't appealing to readers. The title is vague. The cover looks amateurish or is obviously from a template. The quality of the text is poor: it's not ready for market, it's a rough first draft, the prose is hard to read, there are lots of errors, and so on.

What retailer sells the most books? ›

Amazon Books

Amazon is the largest book retailer in the world with a catalog that includes more than 33 million titles, and they will ship them just about anywhere. But it's the actual stores that interest us.

Is book reading declining? ›

Total book reading is declining significantly, although not at the rate of literary reading. The percentage of the U.S. adult population reading any books has declined by -7 percent over the past decade. dropped dramatically over the past 20 years. Less than half of the adult American population now reads literature.

Do people buy books in a recession? ›

“Although there is a widespread belief that publishing weathered the 1981-82 recession well, figures from the Association of American Publishers show virtually no growth for trade book sales in that year, compared with an average of 13.3 percent in the years since 1982.”

What is the biggest market for books? ›

In terms of countries, the United States control over 24.7% of all global book sales. The USA is followed by China, which accounts for 19.4% of all sales, and Germany with 9.2%. As of 2023, the top 5 biggest book markets control 66.71% of all global book sales.

Why do most books fail? ›

They make simple grammar mistakes and sometimes big grammar mistakes, i.e., by not hiring a copy editor before submitting it for self-publishing. Books have categories, or genres, and too often emerging authors do not study the genre they've selected or they change genres in the middle of writing.

Will paperback books become obsolete? ›

Will Books Be Replaced by Future Technology? Technology cannot entirely replace books, but there will be a significant reduction in physical books in the world. The world is going fully digital, and everyone now uses technology to complete several tasks, including reading.

Are books still in demand? ›

U.S. print book sales rose by 67.8 million in 2021, with adult fiction sales rising 25.5% and adult nonfiction sales rising 4.4%, according to data gathered by market research firm NPD and reported by Publishers Weekly.

What kind of books sell best on Amazon? ›

What types of books sell best on Amazon?
  • Textbooks. If there was a “gold standard” of used books that you can sell on Amazon, it'd definitely have to be textbooks. ...
  • Niche books. ...
  • Comic books. ...
  • Collectibles. ...
  • Non-fiction. ...
  • Hardcovers.
Jan 20, 2022

What are the top three best-selling books of all time? ›

25 Best-Selling Books of All-Time
  • #1 – Don Quixote (500 million copies sold) ...
  • #2 – A Tale of Two Cities (200 million copies sold) ...
  • #3 – The Lord of the Rings (150 million copies sold) ...
  • #4 – The Little Prince (142 million copies sold) ...
  • #5 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (107 million copies sold)

What is the #1 best-selling book 2022? ›

These are the bestselling books of 2022.
  • Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us (Atria) – 2,729,007 copies sold.
  • Colleen Hoover, Verity (Grand Central) – 2,000,418 copies sold.
  • Colleen Hoover, It Starts with Us (Atria) – 1,885,351 copies sold.
  • Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing (Putnam) – 1,868,518 copies sold.
Jan 10, 2023

What makes a book sell well? ›

It's something fresh and interesting. You must find an idea that will get readers excited to pick up your book. This goes for fiction, nonfiction, advice, how-to, and memoir. A small idea for a book results in small sales.

How many books do I need to sell to make a living? ›

Published by Ol James on 29/05/2022

Of course, there's still a chance to earn money, although it may not be enough to quit your day job. Even still, many aspiring writers want to know how many books they need to publish to start earning an income. You need to publish one book to make money.

What size book sells the best? ›

These are the most common book sizes for most fiction and nonfiction books. The two most popular sizes in the U.S. are 5.5” by 8.5” (“digest”) and 6” by 9”.

How do I find out how many copies of a book were printed? ›

Textbooks are printed in batches called print runs, printings, or impressions. The print run of a textbook is listed on the copyright page within a numeric, or sometimes alphanumeric, string. Publishers may use differing protocols to denote a textbook's print run.

What is the average number of copies a book sells? ›

Thus I usually say that the “average” book sells 10,000 copies with a major publisher. But if all their books only sold 10,000 copies, they might struggle financially. There have to be exceptions to the rule. Be aware that the word average means that for every book that sells 15,000, there is one that sells 5,000.

How do you find the resale value of a book? ›

One very simple method of finding an approximate value of a book is to search for similar copies on AbeBooks.com and see what prices are being asked. The sellers on AbeBooks.com offer for sale new, used, rare and out-of-print books, and we have millions of used and rare books available for purchase.

Is Nielsen BookScan free? ›

"We're really happy to make it easy and free for them to see geographical BookScan data updated weekly, as well as historical Amazon bestsellers rank, for their books.

How do you know if a book is valuable? ›

In determining the value of a book there are three basic elements: 1) rarity, 2) condition, and, 3) demand. Books with the most value normally have all three of these elements, and the loss of any will likely result in a loss of value. Age of the book is not always a key factor in value.

How many copies of a book sold to be a bestseller? ›

The category and window of your release all significantly impact the number of copies required to hit the NYT bestseller list, but 5,000 copies during any one-week period is the minimum.

How many pages of a book can you legally copy? ›

Under those guidelines, a prose work may be reproduced in its entirety if it is less than 2500 words in length. If the work exceeds such length, the reproduced excerpt may not exceed 1000 words, or 10% of the work, whichever is less.

How many books does the average first time author sell? ›

Most self-published authors sell 250 books or less, regardless of how many different books they write. Traditionally published books sell around 3,000 copies on average, with only 250 of those sales in the first year. It's rare that books sell over 100,000 copies and even rarer to sell more than a million.

How many copies of a books is considered successful? ›

Want to hit top 10? You'll need to sell roughly 300 for print, or 2,000+ copies for combined formats. Those numbers aren't exactly set in stone, but they're a pretty close approximation. To get onto Amazon's Bestseller Top 100 radar across all titles you're usually looking at about 1,000 sales of your book.

Do Used books have any value? ›

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the old books have small to no value to collectors. Even though some specific books used to be scarce in a region, purchasing books online, both internationally and nationally, has made books' value go down.

Are paperback books worth anything? ›

Either way, paperback books are certainly worth something, and their value depends on so many different factors. If you're interested in learning the worth of your paperback books, you might consider speaking with a rare book dealer or having them appraised.

Is book value the selling price? ›

The book value of an asset refers to its cost minus depreciation over time. It is the value of an asset based on its balance sheet. The fair value of an asset reflects its market price; the price agreed upon between a buyer and seller.

Should I pay a book publisher? ›

In most cases, you should not pay a publisher to publish your work. If a publisher is seeking a payment, this means that you are likely dealing with a 'vanity publisher. ' This means that the publisher is intending to make their profit from you, not from selling your book, which is not ideal.

Does Amazon report to BookScan? ›

NPD BookScan™

It covers approximately 85 percent of trade print books sold in the U.S., through direct reporting from all major retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Target, independent bookstores, and many others.

Can I get my book published for free? ›

Self-publish eBooks and paperbacks for free with Kindle Direct Publishing, and reach millions of readers on Amazon. Get to market fast. Publishing takes less than 5 minutes and your book appears on Kindle stores worldwide within 72 hours.

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