2012 Book Sales Strong for Both Print and eBooks

POSTED ON Jun 20, 2012

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

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According to a report by Jason Boog in Galleycat,

Net sales revenue from eBooks have surpassed hardcover books in the first quarter of 2012.

According to the March Association of American Publishers (AAP) net sales revenue report (collecting data from 1,189 publishers), adult eBook sales were $282.3 million while adult hardcover sales counted $229.6 million during the first quarter of 2012. During the same period last year, hardcover accounted for $335 million in sales while eBooks logged $220.4 million.

Here’s the chart from the AAP report:


What Do You See?

One interesting figure from the first quarter book sales is the “Downloaded audio” books, and the report points out that this is likely due to the explosive growth of mobile computing, something we’ve been talking about and looking forward to for a couple of years.

By category, the biggest gainer for ebooks was YA/Children (not shown in the chart) with an almost 233 percent increase over the same period last year.

But it’s also interesting to look at

  • The print versus ebook balance. Although ebooks are growing quickly, print books in 2012 still account for 65% of overall revenue, with ebooks at about 29%.
  • The growth in revenue from ebooks would have been treated as fantasy just a couple of years ago.
  • Mass market paperbacks continue to show their vulnerability to the cheaper, more convenient and just as disposable ebook format. It may not be long before the economy of scale that made these books cheap and available ceases to exist.
  • Audiobooks? Have you ever bought one? Is this something you might plan to do with your books?

Of course, we know that even though the sample size in this study was pretty large, it very likely doesn’t include any self-publishers or perhaps even any of the new, ebook- and print on demand-oriented micro publishers that are springing up constantly.

What the revenue of the entire industry might be is anyone’s guess, but planning to produce both print and ebook versions of your books looks like a good bet for most self-publishers.

Photo by mind on fire

Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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