Can you tell me how many copies of a book were sold or printed?

In general, (with a few exceptions), there are no published resources which track sales figures for individual book titles. Magazines and periodicals that publish weekly bestseller lists (e.g. "Publisher's Weekly," newspaper literary supplements) will sometimes include sales figures for items which appear on the list.

Each edition of The Bowker Annual, now The Library and Book Trade Almanac, contains a yearly compendium of information on libraries and the book trade and includes a section on book trade research and statistics. Typically this section will include statistical tables showing how many titles are published in various categories (e.g. academic books, mass-market paperbacks) with a breakdown by subject, and the average price per title in each subject area. Unfortunately, this does not include total sales figures, but it should give you a sense of how many titles are published each year in the U.S. in any given subject area. The above titles should also be available at your local academic and/or public library. 

Similar statistical information can be found through the Association of American Publishers. Publishers may be able to provide specific sales information on the titles they publish. While you will probably not be able to ascertain how many copies of a particular imprint are sold (unless the book is a bestseller), you can determine how many libraries own copies of a particular title by searching Worldcat, a global bibliographic database.

Last Updated: Feb 22, 2023
Views: 137

Learn More

Chat Service

We offer online chat service Monday - Friday from 12 - 4 pm (ET).