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Ebooks are 30% of US Adult Fiction Sales

18 July 2012

From The Bookseller:

US publishers’ sales of e-books more than doubled in 2011, meaning that the digital book is now the dominant single format within the trade sector’s adult fiction category, representing 30% of all adult fiction book sales. But there was also strong growth in the children’s sector, and through selling direct, as US trade publishers grew sales by 0.5%.

According to BookStats, which examines US publishers’ annual net sales revenues and net units (including adult, non-fiction, children’s books and religious publishing), e-book sales rose from $869m, or 6% of trade, in 2010 to $2.1bn, or 15% of net revenues, in 2011. E-book units also more than doubled, from 125m e-books to 388m.

However, in the adult fiction sector, e-books became the dominant single format with 30% of total net publisher dollar sales.

. . . .

The combined print formats still represented the majority of publishers’ revenue in the adult fiction category, at $2.8bn.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller


14 Comments to “Ebooks are 30% of US Adult Fiction Sales”

  1. It’s a fad.

  2. Sound in movies? Like the people talk?
    Are you nuts?

  3. Double Zingo, Barb.

    Nobody will remember ebooks by next year. 🙂

    • Only if Apple introduces the Neural iPod. Jack in, and the entire book will be imprinted on your brain in 35 seconds or less!

      Baen will be the earliest adopter.

  4. It’s like television. No legs.

  5. ‘You ain’t going nowhere, son.’ — The manager of the Grand Ole Opry, circa 1955, to a young truck driver from Tupelo, Miss., by the name of Elvis Presley.

  6. Email? Fad. Everyone really prefers the texture and feel of letters.

  7. “Groups are out; four-piece groups with guitars, particularly, are finished.”

    -Decca Records, explaining why they weren’t interested in The Beatles.

  8. Of that 30%, is there any idea what the split is between Amazon and epub (i.e. everyone else)? Specifically, if a publisher doesn’t have a Kindle version, what proportion of the total market are they missing out on?

    • “if a publisher doesn’t have a Kindle version, what proportion of the total market are they missing out on?”

      Roughly 6%. For the last two years, analysts have estimated that Amazon has a 60% to 70% share of the U.S. eBook market. BookStats estimates 2011 eBook sales in adult fiction at $1.27 billion and the total 2011 U.S. trade publishing market at $13.97 billion. Therefore,

      60% * ($1.27 billion / $13.97 billion) = 5.5%
      70% * ($1.27 billion / $13.97 billion) = 6.4%

      So any publisher who refused to publish adult fiction eBooks on Amazon.com in 2011 missed out on about 5.5% to 6.4% of the total U.S. trade publishing market.

      Compare this to the 2010 BookStats estimates, where Amazon’s adult fiction eBook sales included about 2.5% to 2.9% of the total trade publishing market:

      60% * ($585 million / $13.9 billion) = 2.5%
      70% * ($585 million / $13.9 billion) = 2.9%

      So roughly, under 3% in 2010. I don’t have the 2009 numbers in front of me, but as I recall, Amazon’s share (even at the often-quoted 90%, due to lack of competition) of adult ebook fiction was roughly 1% of the total trade publishing market. While this amount seems insignificant, it was enough to send major publishers into a panic when they realized many of these sales were not in addition to print sales, but were actually replacing hardcover sales, the cash cows of publishing.

      • Hang on a mo. Ebook sales in adult fiction = $1.27 billion, very good. Total trade publishing = $13.97 billion, very good. But why do you divide apples by pears? I mean that ‘trade publishing’ includes trade nonfiction as well as fiction.

        If a publisher refuses to publish adult fiction books on Amazon, it will be missing much, much more than 5.5% to 6.4% of the U.S. adult fiction market. How much it misses out of the total trade publishing market cannot be calculated from the figures given — unless, for some indescribably bizarre reason, that publisher is publishing all other categories of trade books on Amazon, and only missing out on the sales from adult fiction.

  9. Yeah, your silly little indie fad is over. In fact, I happen to know from a publishing insider that their next big thing is print books with…blank pages. You don’t always time time to get into stories but now you can just touch and feel paper books wherever you are. Because that’s what readers really care about.

    They’ll make billions and destroy Amazon.

    Great report PG, thanks for sharing.

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