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Bowker: Nearly 250,000 Self-Published Books in U.S. in 2011, Growing Fast

First published on www.digitalbookworld.com.

Self-publishing is growing quickly. In 2011, there were about 235,000 self-published titles in the U.S., and about 87,000 of them were e-books, according to a new report from Bowker, a book-industry-focused market-research firm.

While most self-published titles are still print books (some 63%), the e-book category is growing faster. E-book self-publishing production is up 129% since 2006, versus a gain of 33% for print over the same period.

A handful of larger players dominate the e-book self-publishing market, according to the report. Author Solutions (47,094 titles, now owned by Penguin) and Smashwords (40,608 titles) led the way but Lulu wasn’t far behind (38,005). Outside of these three and Amazon’s CreateSpace, which dominates the print side of self-publishing, no other company has more than 10% market-share.

In the past year, these self-publishing operations and smaller competitors have been battling for the favor of authors, offering lower prices, better services and other goodies to lure them to their platform.

FastPencil, one of these smaller competitors, just announced that it would offer some of its authors the opportunity to be printed and distributed via Barnes & Noble. Author Solutions, offers authors 100% royalties on books published and distributed through the site, making its primary service free for many of its customers – this promotion was to end on July 4 but was extended indefinitely due to its success. The company also recently launched BookStub, a service where authors can sell their e-books in person using a credit-card sized voucher with a picture of the book cover on one side and a product code on the other. A new company called Your Ebook Team just launched and says that it offers authors “360 degree” service, from editorial to distribution. Lulu recently launched an “author advice” tool.

Bowker’s report also detailed small presses, a category of self-publishers with firms publishing 10 titles or fewer. Nearly 13,000 of the self-published e-books in 2011 were from these shops.

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