Book stats

Bookstr recently published an article with everything we want to know about books with such facts as the amount of books published in the world, the highest grossing genres, the richest authors, or even the longest books.

There are 129,864,880 published books in the world, with China (440,000) America (304,912) and Russia (120,512) being the biggest publishers. The second biggest publishers are France, the Netherlands, Italy and India – between 50,000 and 100,000 books.

Bookstr also looked into the 8 longest novels ever published. The longest by far is Cyrus the Great by Madeleine de Scudéry which has 2,100,000 words spread out over 13,095 pages. The second book has almost a million words less, In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust which boasts 1,267,069 words and 3,031 pages. The rest of the top 8 consists of Mission Earth by L. Ron Hubbard (1,200,000 words), Zettels Traum by Arno Schmidt (1,100,000 words), My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgård (1,000,000 words), Clarissa: Or the History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson (984,870 words), Kelidar by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (950,000 words) and The Son Of Ponni by Kalki Krishnamurthy (900,000 words).

The highest grossing book of all time is The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, which has grossed over 5 million to date. The top 10 is completed by six of the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling, Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James and another Dan Brown book: Angels and Demons. Since there are no less than 6 Harry Potter books in the top 10 of highest grossing books of all time (only The Half-Blood Prince is not in the top 10), it’s no surprise that Harry Potter is the highest grossing book series, followed by Goosebumps, Peter Rabbit, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Twilight, Little House on the Prairie, Millenium Trilogy, Hunger Games and A Song of Ice and Fire.

With 6 books in the highest grossing books of all time and her book series being the highest grossing book series, it’s no wonder that J. K. Rowling is the richest author with over $1 billion to her name. Second place goes to James Patterson ($700 million), who is probably best known for his thrillers with characters about Alex Cross or the Women’s Murder Club, but also writes children and young adult fiction. He holds the Guinness World Record for the most n°1 New York Times bestsellers. Next is Candy Spelling ($600 million), a columnist and autobiographist. The fourth richest author is Stephen King ($400 million), known for his chilling thrillers, most of which have been adapted for the big screen, with IT – about the demonic clown Pennywise – being the most recent movie adaptation. Last but not least: Danielle Steele ($250 million) has written more than 165 books – 141 (romance) novels, 18 children’s book, 4 nonfiction works, poetry and music lyrics – which have sold over 650 million copies internationally and were published in 69 countries and 43 languages.

The number one, uncontested genre that is the biggest money maker is romance ($1.44 billion). There are a few authors who stand out (like Danielle Steel) or a few hugely successful books (like Fifty Shades of Grey), but it’s mostly the sheer magnitude of authors publishing in this genre that makes it the most popular and best-selling genre. The second biggest genre, which grosses only half as much, is crime and mystery ($728.2 million), where there is a top layer of successful authors (like J. K. Rowling under pen name Robert Galbraith, Dan Brown and James Patterson for example), followed by an enormous group of authors publishing in the genre. The third highest grossing genre is religious/inspiration ($720 million), followed by the sci-fi and fantasy genre ($590.2 million) – evidenced by, again, J. K. Rowling, but also Twilight, Lord of The Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, …

This last genre of sci-fi and fantasy is also the genre that lends itself best for movie adaptations. The top 5 of highest grossing book to movie adaptations therefore only consists of this genre: starting with Harry Potter at $7.72 billion. The top 5 is completed by Twilight ($3.34 billion), The Hunger Games ($2.97 billion), Lord of the Rings ($2.91 billion) and Divergent ($765.4 million).

And lastly, Bookstr also took a look at eBook sales to figure out where we buy our eBooks from the most. The best-selling platform is Amazon which accounts for 74% of all eBook sales. Now, I don’t think anyone is surprised by the fact that Amazon is number one, but I hadn’t expected them to be so far ahead of the others. Second place is for the Apple iBook store with 11%, third for Barnes and Noble with 8%. The Kobe e-reader in the US represents 3%, Google Play Books represents 2% and the remaining 2% can be spread out over several other sources like, I’m guessing are bookstores, publishers, other online stores that sell eBooks, …

Here is the full infographic for those of you who are interested:

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Happy reading,

Loes M.

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