The Association of American Publishers has released the results of a survey which polled more than 1,200 US publishers on sales data, a hot topic among self-published authors, lately. According to the survey, ebooks sales in the adult trade fiction category increased in 2013 over 2012, up 3.8% to a yearly total of $1.3 billion. The organization says that this is a far cry from the “astounding” numbers of ebook sales projected last year. Children’s ebook sales dropped 26.7% from 2012 to 2013, an industry fact that has repeatedly been explained by the lack of a runaway blockbuster like The Hunger Games in 2013.
What may seem a little misleading, though, are the sales figures themselves. Hardcover sales in adult trade fiction and non-fiction combined increased to a total of $1.5 billion in 2013; ebooks in fiction-only sold almost as much as hardcover for both fiction and non-fiction for adults–despite the typically lower price point of ebooks compared to hardcover and paperback–a fact that speaks to the need to revamp the strategy by which publishers perceive digital-first and ebook-only.
The purpose of the survey, according to the AAP, is to help dispel some of the rumors surrounding ebook sales, notably that the sales percentages are much higher than publishers actually see. However, while small press and indie press publishers who are members of the AAP were included in the sales data, self-published authors and their ebooks were not counted. From the member publishers, ebooks still make up about 27% of total sales.