A quick follow-on to my previous post on the number of novels published annually in the U.S. I’ve now seen roughly comparable figures for the UK from 1994 through 2008 (via Dan Cohen, with thanks for the pointer).
The UK numbers come from Nielson and aren’t broken down by category, but the overall picture is that there have been about half as many total English-language volumes published annually there as in the U.S. in recent years. I don’t know if Brits are bigger readers of fiction, proportionately, than Americans, but I’d say the large-scale assumption that the two markets for fiction are of the same general magnitude (within about a factor of two) is reasonable.
What I’d still like to know is the portion of their annual output that’s in common. Are twenty percent of novels published in one country also published in the other? Fifty percent? Eighty? And are novels more (or less?) internationally “portable” than other kinds of books?