Home » Big Publishing, Ebook/Ereader Growth » AAP Reports eBook Sales Down 1% in August, Down for the Year

AAP Reports eBook Sales Down 1% in August, Down for the Year

20 November 2013

From The Digital Reader:

The latest monthly sales figures from the American Association of Publishers are going to add grist to the mill for those who say that the ebook market is leveling off.

The AAP reported that the book market as a whole was up nearly 6% in August 2013 ($633.5 million from $598.4 million), and it was also down 4.8% for the January to August period ($4.26 billion from $4.47 billion).

The combined digital sales (audiobook and ebook) for the first 8 months of 2013 totaled $882.8 million, down 3.5% from $915 million during that period last year.

. . . .

The August figures show that the total digital sales were down 1.7%.

. . . .

The YA ebook segment was down 7.6% ($13.3 million from $14.4 million), while religious ebooks were up 4.9% ($4.9 million from $4.7 million). Curiously enough, adult ebook sales broke with their previous trend of steady growth and took a dip in August; they were down 2.9% ($114.8 million from $118.2 million).

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

PG would note that the American Association of Publishers figures are a snapshot of what large, medium-sized and some small publishers are reporting as their sales.

Indie author sales are not included and Amazon provides no sales information to the AAP.

Big Publishing, Ebook/Ereader Growth

10 Comments to “AAP Reports eBook Sales Down 1% in August, Down for the Year”

  1. Emphasis on PG’s comments.

    Anyways, simply because the adoption of a technology slows, does not mean it stalls. And there is the natural fluctuation of the market. As noted YA is down. I’ll be interested to see if the release of the next HG movie this weekend increases interest in the series and thus YA. Or perhaps the market is saturated.

    • Aren’t many of today’s YA readers the remnants of the Harry Potter bubble? If so, I’m not surprised that sales would be dropping as they grow older and read more adult books.

  2. “YA readers the remnants of the Harry Potter bubble?”

    From listening to other authors I always thought that was the foundation of NA. Kids fell in love with reading and the supernatural with HP. Grew up a bit. Grew up a bit more with Twilight and related work and have now moved onto NA. Would explain the slowdown in YA. Especially if the generation following behind them are (gasp, blasphemy) reading less because of all the tech they grew up with.

  3. Simple explanation: “50 Shades of Grey”.

  4. As PG says, the figures don’t include Amazon’s own numbers. This could mean a shift towards small publishers not reporting, or toward indie titles.

    Indie titles have been eating bigger and bigger shares of the top sellers lists lately. If we assume none of those have been reported to AAP (likely), that would result in lower numbers reported by publishers. That might be what Mr. Ockham was getting at above.

    • What Jim said.

      The AAP’s counting methodology confuses “eBook sales” with “eBook sales from non-indie publishers,” resulting in a wrong and misleading conclusion. Various estimates (David Gaughran’s, for example) put indie-published books at 20-28% of the market now. That % is increasing monthly, which is why the decreasing slice of the pie which the AAP can see and measure is shrinking.

      Here’s an objective, statistically-sound way to measure true eBook sales:

      It now takes a higher # of sales to hit the Top-1000, Top-100, etc. charts in the major eBook stores (Amazon, B&N Nook, iBooks) than it did six months ago, or a year ago. That means the total number of eBooks being sold has increased.

  5. It could also be slow sales in August. A number of indie writers of my acquaintance reported lower sales in August compared to earlier in the summer and to last year. *shrug* Or it could be “yes.”

  6. So, total sales were down 4.8% in the first 8 months of the year. Digital was down 3.5% for the first 8 months. Which means digital was down less than the overall market for the first 8 months of the year (which includes August, by my reckoning of 8 months).

    It looks like August was a blip, if total sales were up 6% during that month, while digital was down 1.7%, given the above results. It may have something to do with reporting periods.

    Hard to say, as usual the data or the reporting (or both) seems flaky.

  7. These AAP numbers are goofy. Look here at the earnings reports published by PW for the big dogs.


    If you grow at 25% a year, in a little under 3 years you will double the amount of revenue you make. Double. Less than 3 years.

    People who say that ebooks sales are flattening don’t understand math. A 25% growth rate is huge. Especially if you’re already 25% of the market. Run with that “plateaued” 25% growth rate for a few years, and you suddenly become the king of the world.

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