All time number of Star Trek books sold

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by stoneroses, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. stoneroses

    stoneroses Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2001
    Location:
    Herford, Germany
    This may well have been asked before, if so my apologies.

    I was reading a report saying the Harry Potter book series is the most selling of all time with around 500 million copies sold.
    However I was wondering how that compares to the sales of the vast array of Star Trek books?
    I had a quick look on Google but no look so far.

    Anyone know?
     
  2. ryan123450

    ryan123450 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Location:
    Woodward, OK
    I'm gonna guess that you won't find an answer to that question. I've rarely if ever seen numbers for individual books, let alone ALL of them.
     
  3. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    Yeah, I don't know if it's standard for all publishers or just S&S, but they don't release sales numbers for their books.
     
  4. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    Andrew Timson
    A number that I've seen Greg Cox use in the past for how many viewers read the books is 1%, although I suspect that's generous. Let's also be generous and use viewing numbers from TNG's heyday, 12 million.

    That's about 120,000 readers per book as a high-end estimate, which would put total sales around 30 million.

    Actual numbers are almost certainly way south of that.
     
    Markonian likes this.
  5. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    I've got a 1979 printing of Star Trek 11 that claims "over 8 million copies in print" of the 12 numbered volumes.

    "Copies in print" =/= "copies sold" but it does give you an upper limit.

    Check eBay. There are currently 20,211 listings for "Star Trek" under "books". Many of those are for multiples.

    30,000,000 books sold over the last 50 years seems extremely conservative.

    But keep in mind that the vast majority of those were mass market paperbacks, selling for as little as .50, and not more than $7.99. It's not like Harry Potter, which was mostly hardback sales, but it is a fair chunk of change.
     
    Markonian likes this.
  6. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2011
    That would be for how many have actually read the books. But how many copies are out there that were given as Christmas/birthday presents, but have not been read and are just sitting on a shelf somewhere?
     
  7. ryan123450

    ryan123450 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Location:
    Woodward, OK
    Conversely there are copies sold on ebay, used book stores, loaned, library copies, etc. which several people read.
     
  8. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2011
    Used copies wouldn't count as they are already counted in the number sold at first-hand stores like Wal-Mart or Chapters. And library copies could be counted as both first-hand and second-hand (some people donate their old books that are in good shape to their local library).
     
  9. ryan123450

    ryan123450 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Location:
    Woodward, OK
    I was just referring to the two issues of how many copies sold vs. how many people read Trek books.
     
  10. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Oxford, PA
    Nah, that's for estimating sales, and the rule of thumb, regarding tie-in books, was that you could expect that about 1- 2% of the viewing audience would buy the books.

    Mind you, I'm not sure this rule of thumb was ever scientifically verified, and I have no personal info on how Trek books sell as a whole. (I know which ones of mine have sold the best: the Q trilogy.) But that was the operating assumption back in the day when it came to tie-in novels in general, as opposed to just Star Trek books. As I recall, a friend of mine once managed to guess the approximate sales figures for the FARSCAPE novels using this rule.

    Not sure how you quantify "copies read."
     
    Therin of Andor likes this.
  11. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    Ditto collectors who never open their packs of bubblegum cards, nor release their action figures from their plastic sarcophagi...
     
  12. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I've read of people buying two copies. One to read and one to keep in mint condition.
     
  13. Jinn

    Jinn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Location:
    Jinn
    Since some Trek novels have made it on the New York Times Bestseller list, shouldn't their number of sold copies be known? Or at least a general area?
     
  14. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Oxford, PA
    I always sent my parents two copies of each new book: one for Dad to carry around and show off (and eventually misplace), one for Mom to display in pristine condition.

    Trust me, it was easier that way. :)
     
  15. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    That was me. Now I generally buy 1 hard copy ("for the collection") and 1 ebook copy.
     
  16. EightiesKid

    EightiesKid Ensign Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Hmm, I would be interested to know even rough numbers on Trek book sales. I'm sure there are many ways to parse the data. Back in the 80's, it seemed that there was a steady production of Trek novels, going into the 90's, and maybe even into the early 2000's. I still remember buying and reading Spock's World back in the day. Trek novels have been around for awhile, I would expect their sales numbers to have been pretty good.
     
  17. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2011
    There would also be the question of how well omnibuses sold. Bantam has combined their Trek books into different omnibuses over the years. I have the omnibuses from Trek's 25th in 1991 and the stories are in nowhere near their published 60's/70's order (as the omnibuses present them by Season-production order, unlike the original books, where you might have stories from all three seasons).