Only 163 books out of 45,000 sold more than 100,000 copies

There were more than 450,000 new titles issued last year according to Bookscan. A title is a book in a specific format–so the audio counts as separate from the hardcover, etc. To be conservative, you can triple the sales numbers here, to account for digital and audio formats of the same title.

If we narrow that down to the 45,000 books published by the largest publishers —books that by every definition are not self-published, and that required a team to create— we get this chart.

Scarcity made the book publishing world work as a business, and scarcity is gone.

Write a book because you can and because it might make a difference. But don’t listen to your publisher’s suggestions simply to sell more copies. You probably won’t.

As AI-generated content awash every content platform in the world, this number can only go down. The only thing that will matter in the end is marketing power. And the monopoly that will come with it.