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The death of books....

Posted by David Mehegan  May 29, 2008 10:53 AM

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...of which we have all read so much, got its annual reprieve yesterday with the report from Bowker, the publisher of "Books in Print," that no obituary need be written just yet.

According to Bowker, the number of book titles printed last year by American publishers was 276,649, a slight increase from 274,416 the year before. This includes discrete titles; that is, books with separate ISBN numbers.

But even this only scratches the surface. Bowker reports that "print on demand" titles -- books that are not warehoused but printed in response to a specific order, consisting of "mostly reprints of public doman titles and other short-run books" -- have exploded to such an extent that Bowker will now track them as a separate category. When all those titles are added in, the total number of titles printed last year was 411,422.

All of which suggests that Kindle has a long way to go to put the printed book out of business.

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