17 Spellbinding Book Industry Statistics for 2021

Are you looking for some exciting book industry statistics to boost your career options and enhance your journey toward self-improvement?

Well, look no further! We present you with some of the most interesting stats and facts about the book industry on the web. From audiobooks to ebooks and paperbacks — we’ve got you covered.

Top 10 Book Industry Statistics for 2021

Paper Books vs. Ebooks Statistics

We already know that 37% of the US adults read paper books exclusively. But, which format is more popular when it comes to sales? We’ve got the latest ebook and print book sales statistics!

1. The average book in the US sells fewer than 200 copies annually.

(Berrett-Koehler Publishers)

These book industry statistics are rather alarming. Based on the latest data from the US, the average book sells fewer than 1,000 copies over its lifetime.

In fact, it has less than a 1% chance of making it to an actual bookstore.

2. US customers purchased roughly 335.7 million ebooks in 2019.

(Statista)

The exact number of ebook sales is difficult to determine since data from small publishers and giant retailers like Amazon is lacking.

However, it’s safe to say that the number of ebook customers has grown nearly five-fold in the last ten years.

3. Ebook sales statistics for 2020 reveal romance ebook sales increased by 17% from January to March.

(Publishing Perspectives)

The romance novel category has been in the decline for years, but the numbers jumped during the coronavirus shutdown period.

With social distancing and retail stores closed due to the pandemic, ebook sales took off.

4. Ebook industry statistics showed a sales drop of 4.5% in the first quarter of 2019.

(Good Reader)

More precisely, digital book sales fell to $244 million, a $10 million decrease from the same period the year before.

Unfortunately, e book industry trends have noted a steady decline in ebook sales during the last couple of years.

This slump in digital book sales seems to correspond to the overwhelming popularity of audiobooks and a notable resurgence of the printed book industry.

5. Hardcover book sales increased by 7.8% (to $594 million).

(Good Reader)

It appears that the downfall of ebooks is beneficial to the conventional print industry.

According to ebooks vs. print books statistics, paperback sales increased by a respectable 3.1%, to a surprising $553.6 million.

6. Book sales statistics by year reveal the global e-reader industry value in 2020 was $460 million.

(Statista)

By now, you’re probably familiar with ebook devices, such as Kindle, NOOK, and Kobo.

Based on the latest statistics, their current worth is forecasted to decrease to a “mere” $160 million by 2025.

7. Ebook vs. print book statistics from 2020 show an 8.2% increase in print book sales.

(Publishers Weekly)

As a matter of fact, the stats note that in January of 2021, units reached a whopping 750.9 million, a noteworthy increase from the year before when it was 693.7 million.

According to book sales statistics for 2020, this 8.2% rise was the highest yearly increase since 2010.

8. Juvenile nonfiction book sales increased by 23.1% in 2020.

(Publishers Weekly)

Book industry sales trends showed a surge in demand for juvenile nonfiction titles. The main reason for this is the global pandemic, ensuing lockdowns, and remote learning.

Book Publishing Industry Statistics

Self-publishing is currently on the rise, but let’s find out what the figures reveal about the publishing industry in general.

9. The publishing industry reached gross global sales of $258.7 billion in 2019.

(Globe Newswire)

Based on the latest book industry good sales statistics, the publishing industry is booming. The book sector was the most profitable in 2019.

Its total sales reached $128.2 billion, or 49.6% of the publishing market’s overall value.

10. The book publishing market in the UK is valued at $5.5 billion.

(IBIS World)

The UK book industry statistics reveal a 4.3% decline in 2021. However, compared to the previous five years, the book publishing industry in the UK shows an annual growth rate of 0.1%.

11. Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited paid out more than $250 million to their independent writers in 2019.

(Alliance of Independent Authors)

Book industry statistics reveal that self-publishing is becoming a major trend in the industry.

With the development of ebook readers and smart devices, self-publishing has become much easier than a couple of years back.

12. Books publishing statistics reveal that print book sales in the US grew by 29% in Q1 2021.

(Publishing Perspectives)

Print book sales may have slowed down due to the pandemic, but they’re slowly taking off again. Even since the NPD BookScan started tracking the data in 2004, this is the highest print book sales data in Q1.

13. US book industry statistics reveal the children’s book publishing industry reached a $2 billion value in 2020.

 (IBIS World)

The latest book publishing industry trends reveal that 143 children’s book publishing businesses are in the US, with around 4,504 employees.

However, between 2015 and 2020, the US industry for children’s book publishing witnessed a meager 0.9% average growth.

Audiobook Trends for 2021

Let’s face facts — it’s much more convenient to immerse yourself into an audiobook. Not only can you finish the book a lot faster, but it also makes multitasking a heck of a lot easier.

Let’s find out what the numbers say about the latest audiobook trends from 2020 and 2021.

14. Audiobook sales in the US totaled $940 million in 2018.

(Publishing Perspectives)

More precisely, this figure indicated that audiobook sales in the US were up 24.5% from 2018, with a rise in units by 27.3%.

Based on these audiobook sales statistics, we can conclude that the popularity of audiobooks is increasing year by year.

15. In 2018, non-fiction audiobook sales in the US represented 32.7% of unit sales.

(Publishing Perspectives)

While the most popular audiobook genres in the US included mystery, sci-fi, and general fiction, non-fiction books are also catching on.

According to the book industry trends, audiobooks are now being produced in more significant numbers to meet the customers’ demands.

16. 57% of audiobook listeners in 2020 were younger than 45.

(Findaway Voices)

In 2019, the number of American millennials was 72.1 million. Based on that figure, it’s no surprise that this generation tops the list of audiobook users.

According to the audiobook industry statistics for 2020, the market reveals an incredible eight straight years of double-digit revenue growth!

17. In 2018, the self-help audiobook market valued $769 million.

(Market Research)

According to the book sales by genre statistics, the demand for self-help books during the same year was estimated at $800 million, the self-help audiobooks market was worth $769 million.

Nevertheless, both sectors have witnessed comparable annual growth rates of 6% and 5.6%, respectively.

FAQ

How much is the book industry worth?

In 2019, the worldwide publishing industry had gross sales of $258.7 billion, reflecting a CARC of -0.2 percent between 2015 and 2019.

More specifically, in 2019, the books sector was the most profitable with gross sales of $128.2 billion, or 49.6% of the market’s overall valuation.

How big is the book publishing industry?

The US book publishing market was at $29.9 billion in 2020.

As for global book publishing, the latest statistics indicate that the market is currently valued at $109.8 billion and expects to reach an estimated $112 billion by 2027.

How many copies does the average book sell?

Sadly, based on the latest data from the US, the average book sells fewer than 1,000 copies during its lifespan. In fact, it has less than a 1% chance of making it to an actual bookstore.

What company sells the most books?

The most extensive book publisher is Penguin Random House, with annual revenue of $3.3 billion. This publishing giant has over 200 imprints and divisions.

The rest of the “Big Five” trade publishers include:

Moreover, educational publishers are also big in the industry:

How big is the audiobook market?

The US audiobook industry was valued at $1.2 billion in 2019. Although the numbers had fallen between 2018 and 2019, sources report that the latest figure represents a 24.5% increase between 2017 and 2018.

Whereas globally speaking, the worldwide audiobook market size in 2019 was valued at around $2.67 billion and expected to reach $3.26 billion in 2020.

How many audiobooks are sold per year?

Knowing how much Americans love to spend their hard-earned money, the following numbers don’t come as a surprise.

Based on new data derived from a survey by the Audio Publishers Association, audiobook sales in the US reached $940 million in 2018, up 24.5% year-over-year since 2017.

Also, audiobook revenues in the US rose by 16% in 2019, earning more than $1.2 billion in profits.

How big is the ebook market?

In 2019, the international e-commerce sales generated a colossal $3.53 trillion. But, what do the figures reveal about the ebook market?

In 2021, ebook revenue is projected to hit $15,635 million in the US. This revenue will likely increase at a 3.17% CAGR between 2021 and 2025, which will result in $17,723 million by 2025.

How many ebooks are sold each year?

Based on estimates, 335.7 million ebooks were distributed in 2019 in the US.

Other statistics reveal that ebook sales rose by 16.5% year-to-date, reaching an impressive $956.3 million in the initial ten months of 2020.

In fact, in October, ebooks accounted for 10% of total trade sales, according to the book industry sales statistics.

Conclusion

Overall, we can conclude from these stats that ebook sales are falling, while hardcover book sales are gradually increasing.

Furthermore, audiobooks, especially those in the self-help category, are becoming increasingly popular.

While trends can change and sales numbers can fluctuate, our book industry statistics reveal one thing that’ll always be constant — people’s love for books.

Sources

Hermina believes that every day is a chance to learn something new about the obscure world around us. The driving force behind her writing is her passion for sharing knowledge with others all around the world. After attaining her master’s degree in English language and literature, she has decided to join the team of creative writers dedicated to delivering the hottest content on the web. So what are Hermina’s favorite topics to cover? Animals, good books, health, fitness, self-care—you name it.

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