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Ether for Authors: Can We See You?

Publishing Perspectives

First published on http://publishingperspectives.com/.

Laura Dawson is product manager in the “identifiers” division of Bowker, one of the key companies we look to in publishing for major market research. In fact, it’s thanks to Dawson and Bowker that we know these daunting numbers:

  • In 1998, there were 900,000 titles counted as active;
  • In 2012, Bowker “sees” 32.8 million titles.

This past summer, when Dawson began circulating those numbers about the increase in active titles (they show a jump of more than 6,000 percent in 14 years), she built in some caveats immediately about their limitations. Here she is, for example, in a blog post in July, A matter of scale:

I keep citing this massive growth that Books in Print has experienced over the last 14 years. As insane as that is, it’s worth noting also that there are many, many books which never get listed in Books in Print – Kindle originals, for example, or self-published books. Or documentation that’s written for a specific purpose but which becomes useful to many people. That sort of thing almost never gets an ISBN.

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