Religious Books Sales Statistics

Religious Books Sales Statistics

In order to better understand the role of religious books in the book industry, we researched, analyzed, and compiled religious book sales figure statistics.

  • As of 2021, religious book sales have reached a total revenue of 705.1 million dollars.
  • Sales revenue of religious books increased by 5.7% compared to 2020 and has increased for the second consecutive year.
  • 2021 marks the fourth year in a row that the sales of religious books have surpassed 600 million and, for the first time, went over $700 million.
  • Over the last 10 years, religious book sales have increased by over 22.3%.
  • Religious material is sold mainly in print formats, making up for 76% of the category’s sales.
  • 61.7% of total sales came from the hardcover format, accounting for over $435.7 million in revenue.
  • 12.5% of religious sales come from digital formats, with e-books accounting for 6.9% and audiobooks contributing 5.6% of the revenue.
YearReligious books sales revenue ($ million)Change
2012$576.6
2013$572.0-0.80%
2014$554.0-3.15%
2015*$455.2-17.83%
2016*$493.08.30%
2017$568.015.21%
2018$644.913.54%
2019$640.6-0.67%
2020$667.24.15%
2021$705.105.68%
*2015 and 2016 sales revenue is calculated for the first 11 months of the year
  • Religion publishing is worth over $1.42 billion as of 2021, which is a 21.9% increase over 2020, heavily affected by the pandemic.
  • This figure combines religious press revenue with the revenue of religious books from other sources.
  • Over the last 6 years, the religion publishing industry’s value increased by more than 35%.
  • The only year with negative growth in the industry was 2020, dropping by 8% compared to 2019.
  • As of 2020, over 179 million copies of religious books are sold in a year.
YearReligious book market value ($ billion)Change
2016$1.05
2017$1.1812.60%
2018$1.255.90%
2019$1.271.00%
2020$1.16-8.00%
2021$1.4221.90%

Christian bookstores statistics

  • Back in 1983, there were 3,290 Christian bookstores that were generating over $1 billion in revenue.
  • By 2005, the number of bookstores dropped to 2,256, while one year later, in 2016, there were only around 1,128 Christian bookstores remaining.
  • Less than 1,000 Christian bookstores remain open in the US as of 2020, including church bookshops.
  • Less than 20% of all Christian book sales go through these bookshops, while the remaining 80% is sold through other channels.
  • Years ago, the situation was the opposite – more than 80% of Christian books were sold through Christian bookstores.

Best-selling religious books of all time

As of 2015, the Guinness Book of World Records estimated that the Bible is the best-selling religious book of all time and the best-selling book overall.

  • It is estimated that between 5 and 7 billion copies of the Bible have been sold.
  • Over 800 million copies of The Holy Quran have been sold worldwide. However, some estimates suggest that over 3 billion copies of the book could be printed.
  • The Book of Mormon has been translated into over 122 languages and sold over 185 million copies worldwide.

Leave a Comment