United States' production of new books declining

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

The World Cup is not the only international competition going on this summer. With vacation and beach reading season in full swing, American readers find themselves trailing their reading counterparts across the pond.

For the first time in five years, American production of new book titles trails that of Great Britain, a country of one-fifth the population of the USA, the Kansas City Star recently reported. Last year, production of new titles in the UK surpassed 206,000, compared with 172,000 in America.

Bowker, a consulting firm following the publishing industry, suspects that as America's wealth increases, more entertainment options compete with books for Americans' leisure time. The figure does not necessarily reflect whether Americans read books less than Brits, and does not, for example, track the comparative reading of reprints and classics.