Bowker: Number of Self-Published Titles Grows Nearly 60% in 2012

Self-publishing became ever more popular for aspiring authors in 2012, according to new data from Bowker.

The number of ISBNs purchased (ISBN is a number identifying an edition of a book) for the purpose jumped nearly 60% versus 2011. Since 2007, the number of self-published titles hitting the marketplace has gone up five-fold.

In response to this increasing popularity, over the past year, Bowker itself has jumped into the self-publishing services fray, having launched, which helps self-publishing authors bring books to market with an array of author services.

Bowker also tracked the growth in ebook ISBNs. Ebooks now comprise 40% of all ISBNs purchased, up from 11% in 2007.

Read more in the release below.

[Press Release]

Self-Publishing Movement Continues Strong Growth in U.S., Says Bowker
2012 ISBNs show nearly 60% more self-published works than in 2011

A new analysis of U.S. ISBN data by ProQuest affiliate Bowker reveals that the number of self-published titles in 2012 jumped to more than 391,000, up 59 percent over 2011 and 422 percent over 2007. Ebooks continue to gain on print, comprising 40 percent of the ISBNs that were self-published in 2012, up from just 11 percent in 2007.

“The most successful self-publishers don’t view themselves as writers only, but as business owners,” said Beat Barblan, Bowker Director of Identifier Services. “They invest in their businesses, hiring experts to fill skill gaps and that’s building a thriving new service infrastructure in publishing.”

The analysis shows the growing prominence of a handful of companies that offer publishing services to individual authors.  More than 80 percent of self-published titles came to market with support from just eight companies, including Smashwords and CreateSpace.

Bowker’s research on self-publishing includes surveys of authors that provide insight into where the market is going and services required by these writers. Those who intend to self-publish most often plan to bring fiction to market, followed by inspirational or spiritual works, books for children and biographies. The majority cite finding a traditional publisher as an obstacle. They also feel challenged by marketing – a hurdle that becomes bigger with increasing numbers of books in the market.

Bowker provides a spectrum of services for small publishers through resources such as, and To view Bowker’s 2012 report on self-publishing visit

About Bowker® (
Bowker is the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information and management solutions designed to help publishers, booksellers, and libraries better serve their customers. Creators of products and services that make books easier for people to discover, evaluate, order, and experience, the company also generates research and resources for publishers, helping them understand and meet the interests of readers worldwide. Bowker, a ProQuest affiliate, is the official ISBN Agency for the United States and its territories. The company is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey, with additional operations in England and Australia.