In case you're a newbie, R.R. Bowker is the official U.S. ISBN agency, meaning they assign the International Standard Book Numbers (pronounced is-ben). The ISBN is the unique identifier assigned to each book title. And every spring, Bowker reveals how many ISBN numbers were assigned for the previous year.
On Friday, June 1, Bowker released their latest numbers.
Before I get to those, let me give you the figures for the past few years:
- U.S. Title Output: 2001___142,000
- U.S. Title Output: 2002___150,000
- U.S. Title Output: 2003___175,000
- U.S. Title Output: 2004___195,000 (recalculated later to 295,523)
- U.S. Title Output: 2005___172,000 (recalculated later to 282,500)
And, one disclaimer. For years, Bowker focussed all its attention on the traditional print industry, ignoring the print-on-demand books. When they suddenly decided to change their methodology, the numbers changed dramatically (note the 100K jump in 2004).
Anyway, according to Friday's Publisher's Marketplace, Bowker now puts the 2006 number at 291,920. Michael Cader editorialized: "No, that's not a typo. That's an incease (sic) of 120,000 over the old methodology and last year's numbers (which some industry players thought . . . were inaccurately low), including 'traditional print as well as on-demand titles'."