29 Book sales figures 2023, facts and trends (2023)

29 Book sales figures 2023, facts and trends (1)Did you know that statistics on book sales and industry trendsmight be helpful when considering your career plans and setting your direction for the future?

But here's a problem:

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

That's why:

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

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  • Physical books vs. digital books
  • Self-published book statistics
  • audiobook statistics
  • Amazon Book Sales Statistics
  • What are the most popular genres?
  • Book reading demographics
  • access to technology
  • What does all this mean?

Physical books vs. digital books

  1. It might seem like most people read eBooks on their tablets these days, but eBook sales are surprisingly low. Recent statistics show that e-books have brought$771 millionin the US market between January and September 2018. Compare this to$800 millionem 2017.
  2. In early 2019, e-book sales continued to decline, dropping nearly5% on rent, bringing only$244 million in salesin the first three months of the year. this was$10 million lessthan in the same quarter of 2018.
  3. August (2019) paper book sales compositedabout 80%of all total book sales. This includes paperback, hardcover, and children's books.
  4. During the first half of 2019, unit book sales were down compared to 2018, when a total of about675 millionPrinted books were sold in the United States.
  5. Council books are the only exception to this, displaying a+19% growthon last year's sales revenue!
29 Book sales figures 2023, facts and trends (2)

Self-published book statistics

In print and digital formats, self-published books have long been marginalized.

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

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

  1. For 2017, more1 million bookswas self-published in digital and print formats. Many independent creatives andfreelance writersthey're finding financial success on platforms like Smashwords, an independent ebook distributor.
  2. in 2018 more507.000 e-bookswere published representing more than142,000 independent authors. Independent authors are responsible for the marketing and distribution of their books. Without the help of 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 a large upfront investment for hard copies.” Melinda Dawson, Senior Editor whose goal is to provide instant help in response to “write my paper for me"requests from.
    The development of online platforms like Smashwords and, of course, Amazon.com mademarketing on-lineand more affordable digital distribution for freelance writers.
  3. Some older studies estimate that self-published books have as much30% market shareof all digital e-book downloads.

audiobook statistics

Audiobook sales have skyrocketed in recent years! Audiobooks are the biggest trend in the book industry in the last 7 years.

  1. According to a report published in June 2019 by the Audio Publishers Association, audiobook sales have increasedby almost 25%between 2017 and 2018 and total sales were almost$1 billion!
  2. Most audiobooks are sold digitally.more than 90%of audiobooks are downloaded from the Internet.
  3. there was more44.500 audiolivrosproduced in 2018, an increase of more than5%of the previous year.

Amazon Book Sales Statistics

  1. According toOne-click retail, Amazon.com sold$4.3 billionmore in print books compared to e-books in 2016.
  2. As of 2016, self-published books are estimated to account for around60%of eBooks offered in Kindle Unlimited by Amazon.com
  3. Audible, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, is North America's largest audiobook producer and retailer, offering more than100,000 exclusive titles.

What are the most popular genres?

  1. Adult nonfiction revenues skyrocketed22.8% in the last five years¡s!
  2. Young adult non-fiction grew even more, with revenue rising nearly40%at the same time!
  3. According to Geoff Affleck, the top five sales categories for print books on Amazon.com are:
    1. Memories and Biographies
    2. self help
    3. Religion and Spirituality
    4. Health, fitness and diet
    5. Politics and Social Sciences
  4. Meanwhile, for eBooks, 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 tobook ads report, the following subgenres make the most money:
    1. Romance and eroticism ($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 Youth ($160 million)
    6. Horror ($79.6 million)

"It is interesting to note that the top selling titles in the e-book category are fiction, while non-fiction dominates print sales." Frank Nguyen, Marketing Specialist at Studicus.

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Book reading demographics

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

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

So who is reading in America?

  1. In October 2019,more than 80%of adults aged 18 to 29 read at least one book in the past year. Older adults, possibly because they spend less time studying and more time working, read a little less.
  2. Last year, between67% e 72%of adults aged 30 or over (by age group) say they have read at least one book.

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

29 Book sales figures 2023, facts and trends (3)
  1. About80%of people who read books have at least some college education, if not a degree.
  2. In early 2019, he discovered that27% of adultsI haven't read any books in the last year.
  3. Those who haven't read in the last year are less likely to have a college education and are more likely to do so.$30,000 per year or less.

access to technology

  1. Hard copies are by far the best-selling and most popular form of book.65% of adultssay they recently read a printed version of a book.
  2. At least28% of adult readersenjoy print and digital versions of published books.
  3. there are more than90.5 million electronic reading devicesUS USA!
  4. About50%of the US population owns 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, home 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.

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What does all this mean?

All these book sales statistics, facts, and trends can be easily summarized in the following conclusions:

  • Print books remain strong and continue to dominate the industry.
  • Non-fiction is very popular right now, especially in print formats.
  • Fiction is most 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 suspense thrillers are the most popular genres in print and digital editions.
  • Desktop publishing is a very viable option for independent authors.

More than675 million books printed last yearWith soaring audiobook sales and a growing market share for freelance writers, the publishing industry is going strong.

We can look forward to a whole new series of studies to help us analyze and understand this huge, ever-evolving market.



How can you find out how many copies of a book have been sold? ›

In general, (with a few exceptions), there are no published resources which track sales figures for individual book titles. Magazines and periodicals that publish weekly bestseller lists (e.g. "Publisher's Weekly," newspaper literary supplements) will sometimes include sales figures for items which appear on the list.

How many book sales is considered successful? ›

In the book's 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. For a traditional publisher to think of a nonfiction book as a success, it has to sell more like 10,000 copies over its lifetime.

Are book sales going up or down? ›

Trade paperbacks accounted for 60% of unit sales in 2022, up from 57% in 2021, while hardcovers' share of the market declined from 33% in 2021 to 30% last year. Adult fiction was the only one of the major categories to have a sales increase last year over 2021, with print unit sales up 8.5%.

How many copies of a book are sold on average? ›

The average book in America sells about 500 copies. Those blockbusters are a minute anomaly: only 10 books sold more than a million copies last year, and fewer than 500 sold more than 100,000. So are all the rest of the books simply failed blockbusters? Of course not.

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

You can find out how many copies of a book or pamphlet are in libraries and archives through a service called WorldCat. WorldCat is the world's largest bibliographic database; more than 71,000 libraries report their holdings to WorldCat.

Is there a way to find out how many copies of a book have been sold on Amazon? ›

If you want to find out how many print copies the book is selling, just click the Paperback or Hardcover edition of the book on Amazon, scroll down to Product Details on that page, and find the Amazon Best Sellers Rank for the print edition.

What time of the year is best to sell books? ›

Leading up to the fall semester, late July and early August are the ideal times to sell your books. This is because companies know this is the last chance to acquire additional inventory prior to the start of classes.

What type of book sells more? ›

When all things are considered, the most popular book genre depends on the format and situation. 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.

What are the biggest months for book sales? ›

Over 82% of all books sold during November are print books, higher than the annual average. Over the last 5 years, book sales revenue for December has constantly been over $1 billion. November and December sales account for over 21% of the annual revenue of US bookstores.

What makes a best seller? ›

Most publishing studies reveal that a new book, on average, will sell around 250 copies and no more than 2000 copies in its lifetime. Since this is what the majority of books do, then selling more than this amount would technically make your book a bestseller.

How do books become best sellers? ›

Regardless of which list you want to make, to land on any bestseller list, generally you must sell at least 5,000 books in one week. This is the minimum sales goal. You may need to sell 10,000 copies in one week.

How many books does the average 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 books equal a best seller? ›

Tips & Tricks:
  • For the most part, they do not count self-published books. ...
  • 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 books does a best seller sell? ›

To make the list, it is estimated that novels sell from 1,000 to 10,000 copies per week, depending on competition. Median sales fluctuate between 4,000 and 8,000 in fiction, and 2,000–6,000 in nonfiction. The majority of New York Times bestselling books sell from 10,000 to 100,000 copies in their first year.

How many pages in a book is a best seller? ›

But while books of all sizes have cracked the list at one point or another, the vast majority of #1 bestsellers fall into a much smaller range. Over 64% of the #1 bestsellers since the list began have fallen in the 200 to 400 page range.

How can you tell if a book is first edition or first print? ›

Identifying the first edition of a book

The publisher may actually state the words 'first edition' or 'first printing' on the copyright page. Another common method of identification is the number line – that's a line of numbers on the copyright page. Usually, if a one is present in the line then it's a first edition.

How do you tell if a book is a first run? ›

The Dates. If the date on a copyright page matches the date on the title page, it's likely that your copy is a first edition. These dates can differ if the publication date is earlier than copyright is acquired, but if this is the indicator used you will want to ensure both dates match.

Can you tell if a book is first edition by the ISBN number? ›

While the number line doesn't necessarily determine the edition, it will tell you how many times the book has been printed. If there's still a number one in the line, then it means it could be the first edition.

How do you know if a book is worth selling? ›

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 does a book have to sell to make a profit? ›

At the top end, only 0.4% of books sold 100k copies or more. For a book to be commercially viable, it needs to sell over 5,000 copies. The more frightening statistic is that 86% of books published sell less than the magic 5k break-even number. The fact is, most books don't sell a lot of copies and don't make any money.

How much does an author make per copy of book sold? ›

Self-published authors can make between 40% – 60% royalties on a the retail price of a single book while traditionally published authors usually make between 10%-12% royalties.

What day is best to drop a book? ›

Since most major bestselling lists are compiled on Tuesdays, the wisdom seems to be, a Tuesday release gives the title a full week to garner sales and gain some kind of traction. Readers and booksellers alike look forward to Tuesdays because of the hot-off-the-press literary offerings.

What is the best month to release a book? ›

Peak reading and buying season is very much tied to the weather. February and March are generally good times to release a book because the weather's not great, so people will be stuck inside, browsing the web and looking for something to read.

What is the best price to sell a book? ›

If you are looking to maximize book sales, consider prices in the lower range: for example, your eBook at $3.99 and your paperback at $10.99–$12.99. These prices work well for a first-time author with only one book. If you want readers to see you as a valuable but not overpriced author, go for mid-range pricing.

What age group sells most books? ›

However, books for kids ages 4 to 8 enjoyed the highest sales volume overall, with 88 million units sold in 2021 versus 64 million units of middle-grade books.

What books are in demand? ›

High Demand Books
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Paperback) ...
  • Final Offer (Dreamland Billionaires, #3) ...
  • Thank You for Listening (Paperback) ...
  • Would You Rather (Paperback) ...
  • All Rhodes Lead Here (Kindle Edition) ...
  • The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, #1) ...
  • Ace of Spades (Paperback) ...
  • Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

What age group buys the most books? ›

Millennials are the most voracious readers, with 80% of Millennials having read a book in the last 12 months. They are also the biggest library-goers of the five generations.

Is there a decline in book sales? ›

Book sales are declining, but not in the romance genre : NPR. Book sales are declining, but not in the romance genre Romance books are on the rise, even as overall book sales are declining. NPR's Juana Summers visited a romance book club at Baltimore's Charm City Books to see what brings readers to the genre.

What is the fastest book sales? ›

The 38-year-old ex-soldier added that while serving in Afghanistan, he had killed 25 Taliban. Prince Harry's memoir “Spare” sold 1.43 million copies in just 24 hours in the UK, US and Canada, setting a Guinness World Record for the fastest-selling non-fiction book of all time.

How long does it take to write a best selling book? ›

Most writers can finish a rough draft in about 6 months. But I've seen some writer blaze through a draft in 4 weeks, while others take two or three years. How long are most novels?

How much does the average best seller make? ›

How much do authors make for a bestseller? The amount bestselling authors make depends on their royalty rate for their books and the amount of books they sell. Traditionally published bestselling authors usually earn a 10% royalty rate, whereas self-published bestselling authors make a 60% royalty rate.

What are the four components of a bestseller? ›

The 4 Elements of Bestsellers
  • A Big Idea: a new essential insight or paradigm shift.
  • Nuts & Bolts: actionable methods and substantiating proof.
  • 3. Entertainment: engaging writing, visuals, formatting, stories, humor.
  • Hope: promise that tomorrow will be better than today.

What is the average best seller? ›

From 2011 to 2017, the average bestseller was over 400 pages long each year. Since 2018, that was the case only in 2020, a year heavily affected by the pandemic. The median value of bestsellers length also shows a decline over time, with a 32-page drop from 2018 to 2021.

What makes a book more valuable? ›

book which has an enhanced value because the demand for the book exceeds the supply, usually because of its importance, scarcity, age, condition, physical and aesthetic properties, association, or subject matter. If there is no demand for a book, it will probably not become a rare book even if the other factors exist.

What is the #1 best selling book? ›

Having sold more than 600 million copies worldwide, Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling is the best-selling book series in history. The first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, has sold in excess of 120 million copies, making it one of the best-selling books of all time.

How hard is it to sell a book? ›

Unfortunately, book sales never come that easy for anyone. It is hard to sell a book if you haven't correctly identified your target audience and marketed to them appropriately. Authors also face challenges with book sales if the book is poorly priced or its cover isn't appealing.

Is it better to write a book in first or third person? ›

While first-person writing offers intimacy and immediacy between narrator and reader, third-person narration offers the potential for both objectivity and omniscience. This effectively makes both forms of narration appealing to both first-time and seasoned writers.

What is the average income of self-published authors? ›

Nearly 60% of respondents to the ALLI survey said their income had risen in 2022 over 2021. The average income of respondents was over $82,600 last year, an increase of 34%. The discrepancy between the median and average author income is the result of outliers on both the high end of the earning pool and the low end.

Are book sales numbers public? ›

The bottom line is that only book publishers have comprehensive sales data, and they don't usually make the information public. If you are looking for historical statistics for particular books, publishers' archives are the only reliable source.

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

To achieve bestseller status on the Times not only do you have to sell at least 5,000 – 10,000 copies in one week, but these sales have to be diverse sales. That is, you cannot sell 10,000 books to a pre-existing list of followers through a personal website or thousands from only one marketplace like Barnes and Noble.

How many copies of a book make it a best seller? ›

If you want to be a bestselling author on the NY Times list, you must sell between 5,000-10,000 copies of your book in one week, but the sales cannot all come from one entity. Your book sales must be distributed.

What types of books make the most money? ›

The bestselling book genre is romance and the most profitable fiction book genre.

What qualifies a best selling book? ›

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.

What makes a book a #1 best seller? ›

Books can be labeled as a "National Bestseller" once they've appeared on a bestseller list published in a national publication, like The National Post. An "International Bestseller" appears on lists across at least two countries. Books can claim "#1 bestseller" status if, you guessed it, they appeared in the #1 spot.

What is considered a best seller? ›

A bestseller is a book or other media noted for its top selling status, with bestseller lists published by newspapers, magazines, and book store chains.

How many pages is average best selling novel? ›

So, if the average novel is around 90,000 words, that breaks down to about 360 double-spaced pages. Here are a few more quick conversions to save you from having to do the math: A 50,000-word book is about 200 pages. A 60,000-word book is about 240 pages.

How much does the average author make on a book? ›

Self-published authors can make between 40% – 60% royalties on a the retail price of a single book while traditionally published authors usually make between 10%-12% royalties.


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