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There Are 129,864,880 Different Books in the World

Google, which is engaging in extensive book digitization projects, recently set out to determine the number of distinct print books currently in existence:

After some intensive analysis, we've come up with a number. Standing on the shoulders of giants—libraries and cataloging organizations—and based on our computational resources and experience of organizing millions of books through our Books Library Project and Books Partner Program since 2004, we’ve determined that number.

As of today, we estimate that there are 129,864,880 different books in the world. That's a lot of knowledge captured in the written word! This calculation used an algorithm that combines books information from multiple sources including libraries, WorldCat, national union catalogs and commercial providers. And the actual number of books is always increasing.


Link via Cool-O-Rama | Photo by Flickr user Nrbelex used under Creative Commons license

And how much actual knowledge is in those books? Or for that matter, and as pointed out: 'uniqueness'?

In the non-fiction section we have a plethora of repeated facts fluffed up with rhetoric made to sell those books as well as pure hogwash which belongs in the fiction section. In the fiction section... it's fiction. I can forgive the fiction section :now, I /don't/ forgive crummy writers, which is a tougher problem to nail down than the problems with the non-fiction section.
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Come to think of it you might need to define "in existence" too. Aristotle's poetics of comedy, or say love's labors won probably won't quite make the cut as "existing" but I'm sure there are some good grey area examples.
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that number seems low. I remember taking a tour of the British Library ten years ago and they said by act of parliment they must add everything published locally to the libraries collection (books, newspapers, magazines etc) and so much is produced everyday that they are more than three years behind just cataloging it let alone digitizing it. And as a result the British library has the largest collection of porn in the world.
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