Explosion of the Written Word Graphs


Writing may feel like an age-old thing nowadays but once it was quite popular among different civilizations. From Mesopotamia to modern pens, writing developed and improved significantly until it was replaced by keyboards and hand-held devices which could perform the task of noting down different things. However, even today, writing has a major impact globally with several new books being published, as well as the use of writing in different schools. We can analyze the world of writing with the help of the following graphs. 

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Production of Printed Books per Half Century from 1475 to 1775

Production of printed books per half century, 1475 to 1775

The production of printed books kept increasing in the period from 1475 to 1775. This is mainly because new and easier writing techniques were being introduced at this time which allowed many people to write. As of 1475, there were hardly 500,000 books published. However, with better writing techniques, France, Great Britain, and Germany took a massive hike and there were millions of books published by these countries. By 1775, France had published over 150 million books, Great Britain had published over 120 million books while Germany also published close to 110 million books. Italy and the Netherlands were a bit behind with approximately 50 million books in the same year. 

Number of New Book Titles Published in the US from 2003 to 2011

# of New Book Titles Published in US (2003-2011)

The US is one of the biggest marketplaces for paper books which is why the industry is booming still today. From the numbers, it was seen that between 10 years, the number of new book titles published in the US increased by 10X. As of 2003, 300,000 new books were published which increased to 411,422 in 2007. A big jump was seen in two years when the number crossed 1.05 million new books in 2009. By 2011, there was a 3 times increase from 2009 and over 3 million new books were published in the US alone. 

e-Books Publishing Revenue (in $ millions)

e-Books publishing revenue (in $ millions)

When the era of computer technology and online marketplaces increased, there was a sharp increase in the publication of e-Books. These books were sold online and could be read from within the computer and no physical copies were delivered. By 2017, $5,532 million was earned in e-Books publishing revenue which reached a massive figure of $6,071 million in 2021. Forecasts for the future show that by 2025, this number will reach $6,949 million and cross the $7,000 million mark in 2026. It can be inferred that there is a high demand for e-Books which is why the graph is showing a positive trend. 

Number of e-Books Sold in the United States (In million units)

_# of e-Books sold (million units, United States)

The previous graph showed the revenue earned from e-Books while this graph shows how many books were published to bring in that revenue. In 2018, 168 million units were sold to the customers in the form of e-Books. In 2019, the number only increased by 2 million units and reached 170 million. However, the revenue increase was over $300 million for this period. By 2020, 191 million e-Books were sold in the United States but despite higher e-book sales, the revenue was lesser than in 2019 as seen in the previous graph. 

Number of Audiobook Titles Published in the United States

_Number of audiobook titles published in the United States from 2007 to 2020

Audiobooks may not directly be related to writing yet they were somehow written / typed and then published to be listened to by the users. Most audiobooks also come in eBook formats and physical copies. From the graph, it can be seen that the e-Book market has also shown a major boom. In 2007, there were 3,703 audiobook titles published which showed a gradual increase at first but a sudden jump in 2012 when over 16,000 audiobook titles were published. The market then continued to increase with slight falls in different years but major ups. In 2020, there were 71,000 new audiobook titles published in the United States which was an all-time high record of the time. 

Share of Adults who Have Listened to an Audiobook (2011 to 2018) 

Share of adults who have listened to an audiobook in the last 12 months in the United States from 2011 to 2018

Adults are usually among those who listen to audiobooks as compared to young ones. This is because young kids usually want to see illustrations. Sometimes, even the old ones are more comfortable with books than audio. Adults who have listened to an audiobook were 11% among all in 2011. The number increased to 14% in 2014 and then showed a dip in 2015 where only 12% was the share of adults listening to an audiobook. An increase was seen again and in 2018, 18% of adults listened to an audiobook. 


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