How many books are there in the world? Is it possible to know the exact figure?

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Although the world of Internet and digital is ingrained in each one of us and is gaining ground, there is one thing that will never go out of style: having a good book of paper to read and take anywhere. For centuries they have contained all the knowledge of men, but How many books are there in the world? Is it possible to know the exact figure?

How many books are there in the world? Is it possible to know the exact figure?

Meanwhile, you have to know that Google, with the Google Books project, is trying to digitize all existing books to create a digital library available to all. By removing duplicates created by different publishers, updates, magazines, and much more, the project accounted for a whopping 129,864,880 books in total through 2010. In 2019, based on available data, another 40 million books were uploaded, for a total of almost 170,000,000 books which could be an approximate figure of those in the world although it will not be never the exact figure.

The ISBN classification

In his work, Google has gone through several processes. Thus, on December 10, 2012 the explorations of the books of the National Central Library of Florence and that of Roma. However, there is a major problem: Google cannot rely solely on International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) , which are the universal identifiers for all books on the commercial market. ISBNs have only existed since the mid-1960s and have not yet been widely adopted in non-western regions of the world hence the aforementioned figure can never be considered an exact figure.

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Secondly although ISBNs are recommended for all titles, they are not required for self-published works found in most e-book marketplaces and there is no reliable way to keep track of them. Nearly half a million books were self-published in the last year, and with that in mind, having a complete estimate of how many books exist in the world is difficult.

However, one thing seems certain: the most important books in human history have certainly been scanned. In addition, other institutions such as WorldCat and the United States Library of Congress have also attempted to quantify and classify the number of books although in your case it is more likely that these numbers are assigned in multiples to the same titles due to the different cataloging rules. Simple titles, author names, and publishers are even less reliable, since human error in transcribing all that information into a database can also lead to duplicates.

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