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17 percent more ISBNs in 2013 than 2012 show that growth is hearty, but settling

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ, October 8, 2014 – A new analysis of U.S. ISBN data by ProQuest affiliate Bowker reveals that the number of self-published titles in 2013 increased to more than 458,564, up 17 percent over 2012 and 437 percent over 2008. Print titles were up a very strong 29 percent over 2012, indicating the format’s continuing relevance to self-publishers. While self-publishing continues to grow, the pace appears to be normalizing after several explosive years.

Read Bowker’s report on self-publishing here:

“Our general conclusion is that self-publishing is beginning to mature. While it continues to be a force to reckon with, it is evolving from a frantic, wild-west style space to a more serious business,” said Beat Barblan, Bowker Director of Identifier Services. “The market is stabilizing as the trend of self-publisher as business-owner, rather than writer only, continues.”

The analysis also shows:

  • Print books have strong value to self-published authors, enabling them to reach a broad audience, often via independent bookstores.
  • A handful of companies continue to dominate the publishing services sector for independent authors.  More than 75 percent of self-published titles with ISBNs came to market with support from just three companies: Smashwords, CreateSpace and Lulu.

Bowker’s analysis is based on ISBN registrations in the U.S. The vast majority of books in all formats have an ISBN. In addition to the obvious benefit of ensuring unequivocal and clear identification, ISBN registrations – and accompanying metadata from publishers – reveal market trends and enable insights into emerging areas.

Bowker provides a spectrum of services for small publishers through resources such as, and To view Bowker’s 2013 report on self-publishing visit

About Bowker® (

Bowker® is the world's leading provider of the bibliographic information that connects publishers, authors, booksellers, and libraries with readers. The company has a 140+year history of organizing and applying metadata for books to support industrywide efficiency. With an expanded focus on Identifier Services (, Bowker provides resources to make authors’ and publishers’ titles more discoverable. Through its Books In Print® data services – including the industry leading Books In Print® database -- Bowker provides tools to promote, organize and sell books, supporting such ProQuest services as Syndetic Solutions™, Books In Print online, and the new library management system Intota™ Assessment, as well as discovery systems for book retailers and providers around the world. As the official ISBN Agency for the United States and its territories and Australia, Bowker makes books easier for people to discover, evaluate, order, and experience. A ProQuest affiliate, Bowker is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey with additional operations in the United Kingdom and Australia.

About ProQuest (

ProQuest connects people with vetted, reliable information. Key to serious research, the company’s products are a gateway to the world’s knowledge including dissertations, governmental and cultural archives, news, historical collections and ebooks. ProQuest technologies serve users across the critical points in research, helping them discover, access, share, create and manage information.

The company’s cloud-based technologies offer flexible solutions for librarians, students and researchers through the ProQuest®, Bowker®, Dialog®, ebrary®, EBL® and Serials Solutions® businesses – and notable research tools such as the Summon® discovery service, the RefWorks® Flow™ collaboration platform, the Pivot™ research development tool and the Intota™ library services platform. The company is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with offices around the world.

08 October 2014

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