July 11, 2006

Everyone wants to be a paperback writer

Okay, so it turns out that not everyone wants to be a fighter pilot, but very nearly everyone on the planet believes that they have at least one good book inside them.

81% of the population feels they have a book inside them.
27% would write fiction.
28% would write on personal development
27% would write history, biography, etc.
20% would do a picture book, cookbook, etc.

6 million have written a manuscript.
6 million manuscripts are making the rounds.

Out of every 10,000 children's books, 3 get published.

Given that most Americans don’t seem to buy or read books, we can only hope that the books waiting to burst forth from 81% of the population never transpire.

In 1998 Thirty percent of Americans surveyed by the Harris Poll say they would rather read a book than do anything else; twenty-one percent said watching TV is their favorite activity. That's the good news. The bad news is that only 13 percent selected "spending time with family.

It's quite possible that most of the survey respondents lied.

Only 32% of the U.S. population has ever been in a bookstore.
One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives. Many do not even graduate from high school.

58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.

42% of college graduates never read another book.

80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.

70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

57% of new books are not read to completion.

Most readers do not get past page 18 in a book they have purchased.

63% of adults report purchasing at least one book during the previous three-month period.(Most were probably exaggerating).

On average it takes 475 hours to write a fiction title and 725 hours to write a nonfiction title.

It takes an average of 531 hours to produce a book-422 hours for fiction, 550 hours for nonfiction.

Many advances are between $1,500 and $7,500.

A typical advance for a computer book is $10,000.

70% of the books published do not earn out their advance. [Nor make a profit, obviously]

The average royalty is 10.7% of net.

Books are displayed in bookstores for one selling season of four months.

Up to 40% of all books manufactured never sell. Most publishers would rather suffer the costs of over-runs and returns than run short of a title. A return rate of 15% is considered very good.

The LA Times receives 600 to 700 books for review each week.

1,818 self-help titles were published in 1997, generating $538 million.

The majority of self-help books are purchased by women.

Women buy 68% of all books.

On the average, a book store browser spends eight seconds looking at the front cover and 15 seconds looking at the back cover. Sales Reps show covers or jackets and give a sales pitch that averages 14 seconds.

So much for "the love of books" that everyone on the planet espouses.

Perhaps they really only mean the books they have written, or will write, themselves.

Or perhaps the first 18 pages they read are so good that they just know they would have loved the entire book, if only they'd had time to finish it.

But that doesn't help to explain all the people who never walk into a bookstore and never read a book - not ever, ever, ever.

All information from Dan Poynter’s – ParaPublishing.com


  1. Anonymous9:35 PM

    \"...most American’s...\"


  2. Ooops - quite right Apostropheman!

    My humble apology.

    Memo to self: spend time proof reading posts!

  3. Anonymous9:42 AM

    "Given that most Americans don’t seem to buy or read books, we can only hope that the books waiting to burst forth from 81% of the population never transpire."

    I thought I was the only one that noticed that. Thank you, I don't feel so alone anymore.

  4. If I were American, I'd be one of the 19% remaining who know that they don't have a book in them.

    Going on my blog, even I can see the short attention span and endless rants wouldn't keep anyone interested for even those 18 pages! :)

  5. This is crap. What was the sample size... 11?