By Dee Power
The year 2005 saw 172,000 new books released in the United
States, according to Bowker, the world’s leading provider of
bibliographic information. The number of new titles dropped
about 10% from the record high of 195,000 in 2004, but 172,000
titles is still quite a few books.
Dee Power, the co-author with Brian Hill, of "The Making of a
Bestseller," puts this number into perspective. If the books
were shelved side by side one would need two and three quarter
miles of shelving. If the books were stacked one atop the
other, they would reach almost nine times higher than the
world’s tallest building, the Taipei 101, which measures 1,671
feet. To transport one copy of each title, the vehicle would
have to be capable of hauling 86 tons or 21 full grown
elephants. Laying the books down in a straight line would
require a little over 16 miles of railroad tracks.
If a copy of each title was purchased at retail, the total
expenditure would be enough to send one student to Harvard for
70 years. However, it would have only been enough to cover
than 20% of the cost of the most expensive diamond ever sold(A
100.10-carat, pear-shaped, "D" flawless diamond sold for
$16,548,750, at Sotheby’s, Switzerland, on May 17, 1995.)
If each author received a $5000 advance, the total would
approach $1 billion. And most interestingly of all, if one
author wrote all these books, consecutively, he or she, would
have had to start writing during the time of Neanderthal Man,
nearly 100,000 years ago.
How difficult is it to get a book published by a commercial
publisher? Well the odds are better gambling in Las Vegas.
Power and Hill surveyed over 60 literary agents. On the
these agents agreed to accept only a little more than 2 in
of the authors who contacted them.
It has been estimated that 25 million people in the United
States consider themselves writers and only 5% have been
published anywhere. Ready for another dose of reality? Only 1%
of manuscripts submitted to publishing houses are accepted for
If 99% of all manuscripts submitted are rejected, by any
standard, a writer whose book has been published has achieved
major milestone. However you look at it, 172,000 is a lot of
titles and a lot of happy authors.
About The Author: Brian Hill and Dee Power were inspired by
their own publishing experiences to research and write “The
Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors and the
Editors, Agents and Booksellers Behind Them,” Hill and Power
have also co-authored two other nonfiction books and a novel,
“Over Time," Money Love and Football: all the important things
in life. www.BrianHillAndDeePower.com