2023 Book Sales Statistics by PublishDrive

PublishDrive book sales statistics 2023

As we’ve started 2024 with new publishing goals, let’s look at how the book market performed in 2023 from the self-publishing perspective to see what to focus on this year.

Before we go any further, know that the most important takeaway from this report is that there’s never been a better time to go wide than now. Diversifying your distribution channels is the key to increasing your book sales.

PublishDrive helps authors and publishers distribute their books across various platforms and countries, ensuring a global audience and, therefore, higher royalties.

Key takeaways:

  • Boost your sales with diversification: This report emphasizes the importance of diversifying distribution channels for boosting your sales. With 40% of sales originating from platforms other than Amazon, expanding your reach is vital. This approach reduces reliance on a single retailer, adapts to market changes, and increases global visibility while avoiding exclusivity pitfalls.
  • Global sales on the rise: Significant sales surges are seen across various countries, with standout performances in the Philippines (136%) and Mexico (128%). Expanding into non-English markets could yield an additional 18% in sales, offering lucrative international opportunities for authors.
  • Dynamic platform trends: While traditional giants like Amazon remain strong, newer platforms like Kobo Plus and Dreame, plus digital libraries such as OverDrive, are gaining momentum. Additionally, there's a remarkable 249% growth in print format sales, showcasing PublishDrive's adaptability across digital, audio, and physical book formats.


In this book market report, we present a detailed analysis of the 2023 book market as seen from our platform, employing a comparative framework to the previous year to examine sales across various categories and countries. 

This analysis examines comprehensive book sales performances from PublishDrive’s active user base made up of thousands of authors and publishers. We used sales data from 2023 (January-December) and compared it to 2022 (same period) to see the changes.  

This data is divided into a few categories (see below) to give a better understanding of how the year 2023 performed and to provide you with insights for 2024.

Note: All items from a category are compared to the same items from the category from the previous year. We don't compare items among each other (e.g., we don't compare print sales with ebook sales, but we compare print sales from 2023 to print sales from 2022).

Let’s get to it.

Watch a short video summary of this book sales report, or go ahead and read everything in detail.

1. Growth in Sales (Year over Year) 

For this category, we compared each year to the previous one (2023 to 2022, 2022 to 2021, etc.) to see book sales over time. 

As you can notice from these book sales figures, each year outperformed the previous one.

book sales statistics by year

Besides book sales statistics by year, we also looked at which stores generated the most sales in 2023, in a nutshell:

amazon book sales statistics

⚡Takeaway: Since 40% of the overall sales come from stores other than Amazon, authors and publishers should expand their reach and go wide. 

Authors focusing solely on Amazon are losing a significant amount of royalties (40%, to be precise) they could easily make by distributing books on other channels. 

By comparing the Amazon book sales statistics with sales from other stores, we can mention a few reasons to  go wide:

  • Diversified income streams: Having your books available on multiple platforms means you're not reliant on sales from a single retailer. If one platform experiences a downturn or changes its terms unfavorably, your income isn't entirely affected.
  • Adaptability to market changes: Publishing wide allows you to adapt to changes in the publishing industry more easily. If market trends or reader preferences shift, you have the flexibility to adjust your distribution strategy accordingly.
  • Build a global presence: Some platforms have a stronger presence in certain regions or countries. Publishing wide enables you to cater to international readers and expand your global readership.
  • Enhanced discoverability: Each platform has its own algorithms and promotional tools. Being present on multiple platforms increases your chances of being discovered by readers through different channels and recommendation systems.
  • Reduced risk of exclusivity drawbacks: Exclusivity agreements with certain platforms often restrict where else you can publish your work during the contract period. Publishing wide avoids these restrictions and allows you to maintain control over your distribution options.

2. Top Sales Performance by Countries

Our book sale statistics show a notable surge in book sales across various countries. The Philippines leads the trend with a remarkable 136% increase compared to 2022, followed by Mexico at 128%. Other countries, such as New Zealand (95%), Chile (89%), and the Netherlands (83%), have also experienced substantial growth in book sales in 2023 compared to 2022.

Here are the book sales by country showing remarkable growth:

book sales statistics by country

Disclaimer: This list comprises countries where book sales exceeded $10,000 in 2023.

3. Books Sold by Language and Countries

Other categories we analyzed in this book sales report are the sales volume of English books in both English-speaking and non-English-speaking countries and book sales in other languages across different regions.

book sales statistics english books
book sales statistics non-english books

⚡ Takeaway: Publishing your books to non-English countries could lead to an 18% increase in sales. 

4. Top Sales Performance by Stores

The stores with the most significant sales in 2023 compared to 2022 reveal a dynamic landscape of success in book sales across various platforms.

The main takeaways from these sales:

  • Amazon Print saw a 381% increase, showing a great interest in print books.
  • Amazon, Google, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble are still top players in the industry.
  • Kobo Plus and Dreame showcase the readers’ interest in subscription-based reading platforms.
  • OverDrive reveals the interest in digital libraries.
book sales statistics by stores

The growth in sales for Amazon Print reflects the increase in sales for print books (as you'll see in Growth Rates by Book Format).

Disclaimer: This list comprises stores that sold books and generated over $10,000 in 2023.

See PublishDrive's full list of stores ⬇️


5. Top Sales Performance by Genre

Now, let’s see the book sales by genre. The best-selling genres reflect a diverse interest shown by readers. Juvenile Fiction leads the pack with a 185% increase from 2022.

book sales statistics by genre

Disclaimer: This list includes genres that registered more than $10,000 in sales in 2023.

6. Bestselling Fiction Categories

PublishDrive’s book sales data shows there was a total increase of 61% in sales in Fiction categories from 2022 to 2023. Here are the bestselling categories, each revealing distinctive reader preferences:

bestselling fiction categories

Disclaimer: This list includes categories that registered more than $10,000 in sales in 2023.

7. Bestselling Romance Categories

With an impressive 1,009% surge in Fantasy romance, it’s clear that readers like captivating love stories woven into Fantasy worlds. Noteworthy growth in Contemporary and General romances further emphasizes readers’ interest in romantic plots.

bestselling romance categories

Disclaimer: This list includes categories that registered more than $10,000 in sales in 2023.

8. Growth Rates by Book Format 

While audiobooks experienced a slight decrease in 2023, the demand for digital content is evident in the 48% increase in the ebook market. 

Although the ebook sales statistics show this interest in digital titles, the standout performer in this trajectory is the print format, witnessing an impressive 249% growth. 

This resurgence of interest in physical books reflects a nuanced market, showcasing PublishDrive's adaptability in catering to the multifaceted needs of readers, whether in the realm of digital, audio, or the enduring appeal of print.

book sales statistics by book format


As we wrap up our book sales statistics, it's clear that we're witnessing an exciting time for authors and publishers alike. Our comprehensive book industry statistics reveal a consistent upward trajectory in book sales, with each passing year surpassing the last in terms of performance.

The insights provided in PublishDrive's 2023 Book Market Report shed light on the shifting dynamics of the publishing landscape and the positive book sales numbers. Looking forward, we remain dedicated to empowering our authors and publishers with informed strategies to navigate the evolving book market landscape.

Utilize these comprehensive book sales statistics to understand market dynamics, pinpointing key regions and platforms for strategic book marketing initiatives. Discover tailored book marketing solutions with PublishDrive to maximize your reach and sales potential.

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