Most self-published authors sell 250 books or less, regardless of the number of different books they write. Traditionally published books, on the other hand, sell an average of 3,000 copies, with only 250 of those sales occurring in the first year. It is rare for books to sell more than 100,000 copies and even rarer for them to exceed one million. When taking into account previous authors and their 51 titles, an average of 12,455 copies were sold for life for each book published. That being said, most fiction books published by a traditional publisher get between 500 and 500,000 sales.
To help you evaluate your own success in selling books, here are some useful and interesting book sales figures. Generally speaking, the majority of revenues that keep publishers in business come from the narrow range of publishing successes between 8 and 10% of the best-selling new books, along with 70% of the total sales that come from BACKLIST books in today's market. I have sold 15 books in 7 months and there are people who say that it seems that everything has to do with Covid. However, it is important to note that BookScan was not introduced until 2001, so the figures for books published before this millennium are completely inaccurate. In fact, if you are lucky enough to have a book that is published in both hardcover and softcover formats, you may find that you sell more books in your second year than in your first year. The Publishers Association reported that revenues from sales of fiction increased by 13% to 285 million pounds, sales of consumer digital books increased by 26% to 125 million pounds and also said that “there was a 47% increase in sales of audiobooks in the United Kingdom (up to 39 million pounds), while the value of consumer e-book sales increased by 18% to 86 million pounds.
Additionally, there are many books available in a “print-on-demand” format, where there is no physical copy until someone buys it. It is true that most people who publish, including CEOs, cannot predict which books will be successful in any given year. Furthermore, not all stores that sell books are subscribed to the system so these figures do not account for all book sales. More than 50% of the price of the cover goes to the retailer that sells books to customers and the retailer that sells the books to retailers. Let us continue with optimism and look at the ten best-selling fiction books of all time. Like baseball salaries or box office profits, book sales are heavily biased by the minority of books that do very well.
If you are wondering why publishers publish books that do not sell well, remember that just because a book is printed does not mean that the publisher is actively spending a lot of money on the title. In this sense, it is important to remember that sales in print bookstores may not necessarily boost the success of a book and much depends on the publisher and category of the book. In the United Kingdom, for example, sales charts for printed books are generally based on a system called Nielsen Bookscan (the US equivalent is called NPD Bookscan), which collects point-of-sale data for bookstores. So how many copies does a successful book sell? The answer depends on many factors such as genre, publisher size and marketing efforts. However, it is safe to say that traditionally published books tend to sell more than self-published ones. On average, traditionally published titles sell 3,000 copies in their first year while self-published titles sell 250 or less.
It is also important to note that even if a book does not sell well initially, it may still become successful over time due to backlist sales or word-of-mouth marketing. In conclusion, there is no definitive answer as to how many copies a successful book will sell as it depends on many factors. However, it is safe to say that traditionally published titles tend to sell more than self-published ones and even if a book does not sell well initially it may still become successful over time due to backlist sales or word-of-mouth marketing.