New Book: Ball Cap Nation

Ball Cap Nation Book Cover (2009)

A unique new book hit bookstores recently—Ball Cap Nation, A Journey Through the World of America’s National Hat by Jim Lilliefors. A portion of the book tells the story of Hat World/Lids’ beginnings and its position atop the retail industry. Below is an excerpt from the book. 


The ball cap story is perhaps most dramatic when told in numbers. Consider: New Era, the world’s largest cap-maker, produced 1.4 million caps in 1982. In 1993, it made 12.3 million. Last year (2008), New Era produced 35 million caps; its revenues topped $350 million.

Hat World, the largest cap retailer, started with a single store in Indiana in 1995. Its founders sensed that there was a growing market for caps that wasn’t being serviced.  Within a few years, Hat World was a national chain with stores in hundreds of shopping malls. In 2001, Hat World acquired Lids, then the largest cap retailer, which was launched in 1993, also with a single store. Hat World/Lids now has about 900 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Revenues for 2008 were $400 million. More than 80 percent of hat sales in the United States are now ball caps. An American invention, the ball cap is sold in nearly every country in the world. Internationally, baseball caps are a $2-$3 billion industry.

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Ball Cap Nation is published by Clerisy Press. The book’s suggested retail is $15.95 and is available through major bookstores chains. It sells for $11.96 on More excerpts and book reviews can be read at