eBooks Account for 22% of US Publishers Sales in 2012


The Association of American Publishers has issued a new report that has given us an indication on the growth of ebooks during the last year. In 2012, digital books have accounted for nearly 1/4 of the total books sold. This is a fairly large jump from 2011, when ebooks only had 17% of the entire market and a paltry 3% in 2009.

The entire US book industry is thought to have sold over $27.2 billion dollars worth of books in 2012. This means that electronic books have garnered a respectable $1.25 billion dollars. This report covers not only fiction but also children’s, k12 and religious books.

These figures obviously is not totally indicative of the finalized sales patterns for ebooks, but it is about as close as we can get. American publishers often do not divulge their exact sales figures, because unlike the UK, they are not mandated to do so. Still, you can see the growing trend in ebooks. Currently, major publishers like Penguin are seeing 35% of their entire US bookselling revenue stemming from ebooks.

Michael Kozlowski (5149 Posts)

Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about electronic readers and technology for the last four years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the Huffington Post, CNET and more. Michael frequently travels to international events such as IFA, Computex, CES, Book Expo and a myriad of others. If you have any questions about any of his articles, please send an email to michael@goodereader.com

  • Andi Sporkin, AAP

    As the person who produced the highlights you mention, I want to correct several errors.

    First, StatShot is not an annual report. It is a monthly report of actual net revenues from roughly 1200 publishers who choose to provide data; it also includes their cumulative year-to-date net revenue figures so the December report would therefore have all 12 months. It is very different from BookStats, our annual survey of the size and scope of the US publishing industry which includes actual and estimated figures from multiple data sources including roughly 2000 publishers, Census information, ISBN figures, etc. A lengthier explanation of their differences is here: http://publishers.org/press/101/

    Also, your $7.1 billion figure for the industry’s total is wrong. In figures we released from BookStats 2012 which garnered lots of media coverage, the industry’s total net revenue for Trade alone (Trade is defined as Adult Fiction/Non-Fiction, Children’s/Young Adult and Religious content) was $13.97 billion. For the entire US publishing industry, which is Trade along with K-12, Higher Ed and Scholarly/Professional Publishing, it was $27.2 billion.

    We’re happy to add you to our distribution list for stats releases. Just contact me at the address I’ve submitted with this comment.
    Andi Sporkin
    Vice President, Communications