The Book Business

Archive Report

Growth of Industry

Record Year Followed by Sluggish Sales

Book publishing is one of the most visible, influential and varied industries in the United States. It is made up of giant corporations with billion-dollar balance sheets as well as “Mom and Pop” businesses that turn out one or two books a year. More than 50,000 titles, covering nearly every conceivable topic, are published annually. Elementary, high school and college texts gross about $2.5 billion a year for their publishers, while libraries purchase hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of books.

The storehouse of knowledge contained in the more than 600,000 books in print in the United States—as well as in the incalculable number of out-of-print titles—is an essential part of the fabric of society. Books spread ideas ...

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