Has Anyone Calculated How Many Different Books Have Been Published?

If you wanted to find out how many different books have ever been written, you’d probably start with a Google search. In 2010, the tech company came up with the answer. According to Leonid Taycher, a Google software engineer working on the Google Books project, that number is 129,864,880. The search began with the ISBN cataloging system, but many other programmable searches were required in order to come up with a more accurate count.

A bit of light reading?

  • Paperback and hardback editions of a text were counted as two books, because different versions often contain additional forewords and commentaries.
  • Google’s goal is to scan every existing book, and the online giant expects that to take around 10 years. In all, they hope to digitize about 4 billion pages and 2 trillion words.
  • In 2005, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers filed class-action lawsuits, claiming Google is infringing on copyrights.
More Info: NPR

Discussion Comments


This isn't true because there are millions of people that have written books and paid to have them printed, rather than go through a company. Some of these books are amazing and I have read one that was 1,000 pages long. So their total of books is only the amount that big businesses printed, right?

Also, why would they count a book as two if it has a different foreword? That makes no sense because the story is what should be counted, not what other people say.

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