Statistics About Writing

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Writing has been around since the beginning of human evolution. Since then, it has only been growing and developing into a very important skill we use today. Writing has created books, publishers, and writers—all with global renown. Here are some world-changing statistics about writing!


1. Over 45 thousand writers are working in the US. 

In 2011, only 40,000 people worked as writers and authors. Years later, in 2019, the numbers have grown to 45.8 thousand in the industry. The statistic doesn’t show a steady uphill climb but there is a positive increase from 2018 to 2019.

2. Emerging authors earn less than $60,000 a year.

Only 10% of newly published writing makes $60,000 to $12,000. Even fewer can earn up to $100,000. Meanwhile, the majority of up and coming writers, at nearly 80%, have to settle for less than a $60,000 income. 

3. The majority of US writers pursue other writing-related occupations. 

Only 21% of writers are full-time published authors. The remaining 57%, on top of being published authors, seek extra income with other writing jobs. 

4. Higher earning authors spend 32 hours a week writing.

According to the Written Word Media, authors with around $100,000 income put in four 8-hour days for writing. Those earning $60,000 to $12,000 spend 28 hours a week while emerging authors with less than $60,000 write for 18 hours a week. From these statistics, early mornings resulted as the most preferred time of writing by all earning authors. 

5. J.K. Rowling is the wealthiest author today. 

Best known for the Harry Potter series, she is the highest-earning author in 2019 with an income of $92 million. She has also published more adult writing under a pseudonym, Robert Gailbraith. With a $70 million income, James Patterson follows as a close second top-earner.

6. Adaptations of books earn higher in the UK. 

The Publishers Association by Frontier Economics estimates that there is a 44% higher revenue of movie adaptations in the UK box office, as well as, 53% more viewers of TV adaptations. And of course, nearly triple in ticket sales for theatre productions. 

7. The British Library holds nearly 200 million items. 

It is the largest national library in the world with Diamond Sutra (the world’s earliest dated printed writing) and handwritten lyrics by the Beatles as a few of its many wonders. Located in London, UK, the British Library welcomes up to 1.7 million visitors every year.

8. Warsaw, Poland has the biggest number of libraries per capita. 

The city houses 11.5 libraries for every 100,000 inhabitants. Following closely, Seoul and Brussels have 11 and 10 libraries, respectively. It’s a tourist must-visit, for sure.

 9. Public libraries in Tokyo loan out more than 100-million books a year. 

With a total of 112 million book loans, Japan’s public libraries showed the most momentum. This is followed by readers in Shanghai who loaned 86.2 million works in 2016, while New York libraries have reached 56.3 million.

10. In the US, over a million books were self-published in 2018. 

1.55 million were produced in print while 130 thousand were distributed as digital copies, that totals to 1.68 million self-published writing

11. The largest non-published book in the world 5 m x 8.06 m (16.40 ft x 26.44 ft), weighs approximately 1500 kg (3,306 lb) and consists of 429 pages.

Entitled This the Prophet Muhamed, the creation was unveiled on February 27, 2012, by the Mshahed International Group in Dubai, UAE. It was constructed by over 50 people who compiled stories of the prophet and Islam’s positive influence on the international and humanitarian landscape. 

12. Libby loaned 10 million ebooks in one week.

The app announced a 30% increase in digital copies borrowed from public libraries through their service during the last week of March. There was also a large tide of new and interested readers that created a total of 25,000 digital library cards through Libby. 

13. The largest published book is a special edition of The Little Prince. 

Presented at the annual XIII Biannual Book Fair in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, it measures 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in) high and 3.08 m (10 ft 1 in) wide when open, and contains 128 pages. It is the hard work and editing of Eidouro Gráfica e Editora Ltda.

14. Adult nonfiction shows the largest growth in sales. 

The genre earned a 5.4% increase in revenue from 2016 to 2017, selling nearly 150 million more copies. In the past five years (2013 to 2017), it has grown 28.4% that reaches up to %6.18 billion sales. 

15. The longest book title consists of 30,000 characters.

With exactly 3,777 words, Vityala Yethindra titled his writing as The Historical Development of the Heart i.e. from its formation from…(read the rest here). The author included all the different species mentioned in the content and a variety of introductory questions in the title and published his writing in 2019.  

16. Audiobooks have been gaining popularity for half a decade.

According to the Audiobook Publishers Association, audiobooks were the fastest-growing format with 28.8% growth from 2016 to 2017. From these statistics, the format has totaled more than $2.5 billion in sales. And it shows, with a 146.2% growth in the past five years (2013 to 2017). 

17. Audiobook listeners read more books.

The Audiobook Publishers Association and Edison Research discovered that listeners finished an average of 15 titles (just in 2017) with 57% of readers agreeing that audiobooks indeed help. After all, 73% of them considered listening as a relaxing activity that’s usually done while multitasking. 

 18. The author of Alex Cross and Women’s Murder Club was the first to achieve over a million electronic sales. 

In 2010, the Hachette Group declared James Patterson sold 1.14 million digital copies of his writing. The publisher used their own statistics and confirmed Patterson as the first of this achievement. Later on, Amazon announced that Stieg Larsson and his Millennium Trilogy have also succeeded in over a million digital sales. 

19. Stephen King’s Riding The Bullet sold over 400,000 copies in under 24 hours. 

The publisher, Simon & Schuster, released the world’s first mass-market ebook. The unexpected volume of King’s fans had jammed the download server and crashed computer systems.

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