In the first six months of 2017 e-book sales have more or less stabilized. The publishing industry generated $555.7 million in sales, down $26.8 million from the same period last year. Audiobooks continue to be be financially lucrative, but they have a long way to go before they make the type of money that e-books do. Downloaded audio had $157.7 million in sales, up $38.2 million or 32.0%.
Although e-book sales are no longer declining in double digit figures for the past year, print sales continue to soar. This has been a boon for bookstores all over the United States, especially indie shops. According to the American Booksellers Association, independent bookstores are thriving — with a 25% increase in ABA membership since 2009. Bookstore sales are up 6.1% since January 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau reports.
- By Category: In the first half of 2017, compared to the first half of 2016, trade sales were $3.27 billion – up by $95.8 million (3.0%)
- Adult Books had $2.22 billion in sales, up $66.7 million (3.1%)
- Childrens/YA Books had $852.4 million in sales, up $36.8 million (4.5%)
- Religious Presses had $197.0 million in sales, down by $7.7 million (-3.8%)
- By Format: In the first half of 2017 vs. 2016
- Paperback/Mass Market books had $1.27 billion in sales, down $23.6 million (-1.8%)
- Hardback books had $1.11 billion in sales, up $98.7 million (9.7%)
- eBooks had $555.7 million in sales, down $26.8 million (-4.6%)
- Downloaded audio had $157.7 million in sales, up $38.2 million (32.0%)
- Other formats (including board books, physical audio) had $181.8 million in sales, up $9.4 million (5.4%)
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.