Over the course of the last twelve months major publishers have all reported that e-book revenue has begun to plummet. This downward trend has continued into 2016, as HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette have all reported diminished revenue.
Simon & Schuster has just released their quarterly financial results and e-book sales accounted for just 21% of total publishing revenues in the fourth quarter, down from the 24% they accounted for in the same quarter a year earlier. The publisher also ackonolgod that digital might be down, but they have seen an 8% increase in sales, due to print.
HarperCollins on the other hand mentioned that e-book revenue dropped by 5%, compared to the same quarter last year. Digital sales now represent 16% of HC’s consumer revenues in the quarter, which has a 1% drop from the same period last year.
Hachette reported that in 2015 market trends have been reversed in the US and UK, with a rebound in volumes of printed books to the detriment of e-books, due to new contract terms with Amazon. The publisher said overall digital sales decreased, making up 7.5% of total sales in the fourth quarter 2015, compared to 10.0% in the fourth quarter 2014.
I am not surprised that e-book sales continue to decline. Amazon trained everyone that the standard price of an e-book was $9.99, but publishers wanted to charge more money and this drove the average price to $12.99 to $17.99.