‘Lies, lies and damn statistics’ comes to mind when reading a recent post from Publishers Weekly journalist Andrew Albanese.

Bowker recently released industry stats (see below and my post A deluge of self-published shite) indicating supposed dramatic growth in the number of self-published books released to market. While most publishers count the number of books they release by title, one company has redefined the concept by counting the number of books printed.

Publishers Weekly Albanese wrote:

When Bowker’s 2009 book industry stats were released yesterday many in the industry were stunned to see an unfamiliar company name, BiblioBazaar, leading a surging new segment of “non-traditional” publishing stats with a whopping 272,930 titles produced in 2009–almost as many titles the entire “traditional” publishing business cranked out last year. Could it be? Could one little-known company really produce so much volume?

And the twist in the tale:

“If by ‘produce’ you mean create a cover file that will print at multiple POD vendors, a book block that will print at multiple POD vendors, and metadata to sell that book in global sales channels, then yes, we did produce that many titles,” said Mitchell Davis, president of BiblioLife, parent company of BiblioBazaar.

It’s an interesting business to be sure, but counting the number of titles printed? Bowker must be issuing ISBNs at a furious rate if each print job warrants its very own ISBN.

Rather than critically examine the trend Albanese went off on a love-in with BiblioLife’s prexy Davis. Not good journalism.

Here’s the full article for those who care.