Genzyme: Biostatistics with Waban SCE
2008: IT budgets to fall?

Will the Internet kill books?

Well NO.

It is more likely that over time we will see electronic publishing becoming the norm with "on demand" printing of entire books moving from the print shop to the book store or your personal computer.

We actually have a pretty good analogy to this in our own industry. That is, the move to electronic submission publishing including electronic delivery and the potential to go to print on an "as needed" basis.

Technology will need to come to the rescue once again and allow these "one off" books to be printed and bound quickly and at a quality equal to what is currently expected by consumers. Some "on demand" printers are already available and can print a single page in a split second in full color. So, you can expect to see them show up at your favorite large book chain fairly soon. I'd say in the next two years. Remember though that I tend to be an optimist and may be off by a year or two.

This leads to an interesting question. Just how many books are we talking about?

According to R.R. Bowker, there were close to 300,000 books published in 2006 in the United States alone. For the entire English-speaking world, the number increases to over 450,000.

The top publishing categories for 2006 in the USA were as follows:

  • Fiction 42,000
  • Juvenile 29,000
  • Sociology/Economics 25,000
  • Religion 18,000
  • History 14,000
  • Science 13,000
  • Philosophy/Psychology 13,000
  • Medicine 11,000
  • Biography 10,000
  • Poetry/Drama 10,000
  • Arts 9,000
  • Business 9,000
  • Literature 8,000
  • Technology 7,000
  • Education 7,000
  • Sports/Recreation 6,000
  • Computers 5,000

And I have no idea how many times Paris Hilton is mentioned in any of these books. However, it would be interesting to see the breakout by category.

Note: I have rounded the figures up or down to the nearest 1,000. For example, the actual count for computers is 5,498.

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