Self-publishing still showing strong growth as rising quality lures libraries and booksellers

US barcode provider Bowker says its latest figures show self-publishing is continuing to grow strongly and adds that booksellers and libraries are becoming increasingly interested in stocking self-published books.

Bowker says it saw an ISBN registration growth rate of 21% between 2014 and 2015 for print and ebooks combined and self-published titles have soared by more than 375% since 2010, climbing from 152,978 ISBNs to 727,125 ISBNs.

The firm adds that the most notable trend is the growth of ISBNs bought to use with Amazon’s CreateSpace print book service which accounted for 424,000 ISBNs in 2015, up from 292,000 books in 2014.

You don’t require an ISBN to publish an ebook, although some authors do use one, and you also do not need to buy an ISBN if you intend only to sell through CreateSpace but you do need an ISBN to publish a print book if you intend to distribute through booksellers and libraries.

The report reveals other emerging trends in self-publishing:

  • More authors are opting for a hybrid approach to book publishing. Rather than committing exclusively to self-pubishing or going through a traditional publishing house, authors choose the best method for their work, depending on type of book, sales market, or target audience.
  • Booksellers and libraries are seeking opportunities to incorporate self-published content into their offerings.

Barblan says, “As the field of self-publishing matures, the quality of both content and format for many of these titles is becoming indistinguishable from those published by traditional houses. In recent years, the number of independent authors topping prominent bestseller lists is a clear indication that readers are embracing author-published titles.”