From veteran publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin:
I tried an exercise last week of asking a few agents for their impressions of the evolving ebook marketplace. I wanted to get a handle on two things: where we are now in terms of books sold in stores versus books sold other ways and whether the transition from print to digital consumption is slowing down.
The picture I got from nine smart and well-informed agents seems to confirm that:
* sales of ebooks for fiction more often than not top 50% of the total sales, in both the hardcover life and the paperback;
* sales of ebooks for immersive non-fiction are at something like half the percentage of fiction;
* illustrated books do a lot less in their digital editions, which usually struggle to reach 10% of the sale;
* while the marketplace data seems unambiguous, the agents have not formed a consensus that the print-to-ebook switchover is slowing down.
. . . .
If 50% of fiction is selling now as ebooks, it is likely that only about 35% of it is selling as print in stores (because 25-30 percent of the print sale is online). Considering that number was more like 90% ten years ago and 80% five years ago, that’s all the explanation anybody needs to understand the reduction of shelf space we’ve seen. Every year when stores are interviewed about traffic and sales, they cite the presence (or absence) of “big books” as a key driver. The “big books” are most often big fiction. This year, the Fifty Shades family of titles may have provided that lift, which may be why stores (other than B&N) are anecdotally reporting a strong Christmas.
But what the industry should be most interested in, which will be reflected in the next round of royalty statements agents see, is that ebook sales growth appears to have damn near stopped.
Link to the rest at The Shatzkin Files