Publishers Weekly reports Bowker stats that indicate new book releases topped one million titles in 2009. Of those 764,448 were produced by self-publishers and micro-niche publishers. Jim Milliot writes:

A staggering 764,448 titles were produced in 2009 by self-publishers and micro-niche publishers, according to statistics released this morning by R.R. Bowker. The number of “nontraditional” titles dwarfed that of traditional books whose output slipped to 288,355 last year from 289,729 in 2008. Taken together, total book output rose 87% last year, to over 1 million books.

I’ve seen it all before during my time in the music industry: as barriers to entry fall along with the cost of the tools of production there is an exponential rise in output. Not all of it good. In fact, most of it shite.

The simple fact is that the majority of the 764,448 self-published books will not have undergone the rigours that quality content demands.

This presents obvious problems and some very exciting opportunities. With so much content, quality and relevance become increasingly important. Marketing becomes doubly important. Quality metadata becomes critical. Services that help us search for and find quality, relevant content become indispensable.

As a publisher, I find the challenge of having our titles find their target audience a very exciting one indeed. It of course helps that we work with authors who have established non-retail channels to market, but the challenge in moving to the mass market remains.