If you count yourself as one of the many aspiring writers, you might want to become aware of the number of books already in print. According to Leonid Taycher, a Google software engineer who works on the Google Books project, 129,864,880 books have been published.
Google is estimating the number of books in the as part of its ambitious goal of organizing the entire world’s information. Plus, the company is trying to digitize all the books in the world.
Taycher announced the estimate in a blog post. To come up with a reasonable approximation, the company started by ingesting book information from multiple cataloging systems, such as the International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN).
However, such catalogues do not provide a definitive count. For example, ISBNs have only been assigned to books since the 1960s, and tend to be only used in the Western countries. Also multiple books have been assigned to individual ISBN numbers, and publishers have assigned ISBNs to items other than books, such as t-shirts and DVDs.
To arrive at an accurate number, Google engineers have written programs that comb though about 150 such catalogues and directories, and eliminate as many duplicate entries as possible.
The company also made decisions about what is and isn’t a book, Taycher explained.
Soft cover and hard cover editions of a text are counted as two books, for instance, as are the many different versions of a popular text. Serials may count as individual books or as a collected work.
Do you want to add your book to the growing number of published books so Google can count it? Then you better hurry up and get it written!