Trend in Philosophy Books: Slightly More of Them


Slightly more philosophy books were published in North America in 2013 (the last year for which there is complete information) than in each of the previous four years, according to data from Humanities Indicators, a project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In the same year, philosophy ranked 7th in numbers of books published among the 8 humanities disciplines surveyed, as the graph below shows:

Humanities Books Data chart 2015

In total 54,273 books in the humanities were published in 2013. Further data is here.

(It might be interesting to figure out how the humanities disciplines compare in book production on a per capita basis. For that we’d need the number of people working in each of the disciplines, and I do not have that data handy.)

Thanks to Robert Townsend for the information.

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Tony Bruce
Tony Bruce
5 years ago

Compared to Literature and History the number of books published in Philosophy is very low. I can think of some obvious explanations. In the US I understand that a book is required for tenure in Literature and History. In Philosophy it is not. Philosophy tends to look towards the journal article rather the book. There are many more academics employed in Literature and History than Philosophy. But does this add up to a sufficient explanation? I’m surprised that Language and Linguistics publish more books than Philosophy, for example. Interested to know what people think.Report

Peter Ohlin, Oxford University Press
Peter Ohlin, Oxford University Press
5 years ago

Tony, the categories are a bit inscrutable. Language and Linguistics could allow for lots of books besides linguistics which I agree is a smaller discipline than philosophy. Not sure what kind of books “academic study of the arts” contains either.Report

Derek Bowman
Derek Bowman
5 years ago

It would be nice to see if there is a corresponding trend of more philosophy (and other humanities) books being read, or if this is largely a result of competition for jobs/promotion/status.Report