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eBook Revenues Top Hardcover

17 June 2012

From 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.

Link to the rest at Galleycat

Big Publishing, Ebooks

10 Comments to “eBook Revenues Top Hardcover”

  1. And of course this figure does not include any indie sales, so in fact the numbers are skewed ever further. What a revolution it’s been so far…

  2. The Death March continues.

    Happy Father’s Day, Passive Dad.

  3. Interesting that hardcover sales rose while paperback sales plunged. We’ve long heard that ebooks cannibalize hardcover sales but maybe that’s not true. Considering ebooks tend to be priced somewhere between paperback and hardcover, this is good news for publishers.

    • For a second I was confused. The text of the article says that hardback sales plunged — which goes against what I have noticed in person — but I see that the chart has those figures as paperback.

      This makes sense to me.

      When you buy a paperback, you’re buying the story, just as you are with an ebook. When you buy a hardback, you are more likely to be buying an object as well as a story. It makes sense to me that hardback sales would not drop as much as paper, in the ebook revolution.

      • Also, hardback represents the first release of front-line titles. Dedicated fans don’t want to wait for the mmpb, much less ebook.

    • Are we looking at a zero-sum game, Dave?

      Having just loaded up in KDP Select http://goo.gl/7X74W, I’ve elected to go paperback, as well, using CreateSpace (the book’s dummies arrive today).

      I’m trying to create a win-win situation. The idea is to stick with brands (Amazon), clones (Kindle/CreateSpace) and formats. Whatever the trend may actually turn out to be, paperbacks remain the most popular format with readers, for now. If there’s a flip-flop, ebook over paperback, I feel I’ve covered my bet.

      The invisible irony here is that the Big-Six publishers are unintentionally creating an opening for indies. They offer so many imprints that readers are hard pressed to tell the difference between a Big-Six production (read: imprint) and any other start-up like little old indie me.

      • The numbers are pretty close: Paperbacks dropped $61.1 million, ebooks rose $61.9 million. Might be a coincidence, of course.

        I think you’re wise to make a paperback available. As you note, it’s still the largest market and the cost of publishing it is small compared to expenses like editorial services and cover art (depending on what route you take.)

  4. It would be interesting if the number of books sold that represented the net revenue was reported.

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