35+ Print Book Sales Statistics 2022

35+ Print Book Sales Statistics 2022

Given the rise of digital publishing in the book industry we wanted to better understand how print books sales have been changing over the years. We researched, analyzed, and compiled 35+ statistics and facts regarding print book sales figures in 2021, as well as the number of physical books sold and print books sales revenue per year.

Printed book sales figures in 2021 

Based on data from the first half of 2021, it is expected that this year will see another milestone year in books sold, outperforming 2020’s breakout year. 

  • The first half of 2021 saw a 15.16% increase in books sold in comparison to Q1 and Q2 of 2020
    • 29.75% more books were sold in Q1 of 2021 than in Q1 of 2020
    • 5.96% more books were sold in Q2 of 2021 than in Q2 of 2020
YearMillions of books sold Q1Millions of books sold Q2
2021205 237
2020158 225.8

Number of print books sold each year

  • Over the past 25 years, the number of books sold per year ranged from as low as 591 million books (2012) to as high as 778 million books (2008)
  • 751 million print books were sold in 2020, the second highest units sold per year on record
  • As of 2020, the number of books sold each year has grown:
    • 27.07% since 2012
    • 15.00% since 2015
    • 9.31% since 2017
YearNumber of books sold in millions
2021 (Q2)237
2021 (Q1)205
2020751
2019694
2018698
2017687
2016674
2015653
2014635
2013620
2012591
2011651
2010718
2009770
2008778
2007758
2006721
2005710
2004648

Based on 2020’s 751 million books sold, we can estimate that:

  • 62.58 million books were sold per month
  • 14.44 million books were sold per week
  • 2.06 million books were sold each day
  • 85,952 books were sold per hour
  • 1,433 books were sold per minute
  • 24 books were sold per minute

Are printed book sales declining or making a comeback?

The number of books sold declined 24.04% from a record high in 2008 to a record low in 2012. But since then, the print book industry has been making a comeback. Going from 591 million physical books sold in 2012 to 751 million in 2020, a growth of 27.07%. 2021 is on track to outperform 2020 as well, continuing this growth trajectory into 2020. 

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