Digital book sales have not had a very good year. US ebook sales have virtually been in a state of decline all year long. This trend continued into November, 2022 where the format saw a 10.4% drop and generated $83 million. For the first eleven months of 2022 ebook revenue was down 6.3% as compared to the first eleven months of 2021 for a total of $928.0 million.
Digital audiobooks are the fastest growing segment in digital publishing and they continue to grow like crazy. The format was up 5.6% for November, coming in at $73.9 million in revenue. Physical Audio was down 33.7% coming in at $1.7 million. Year-to-date The audio format was up 7.2%, coming in at $767.0 million in revenue. Physical Audio was down 30.5% coming in at $14.5 million.
In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of November, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were down 22.4%, coming in at $355.2 million; Paperbacks were down 5.4%, with $274.2 million in revenue; Mass Market was down 14.9% to $19.5 million; and Special Bindings was down 15.9%, with $20.0 million in revenue.
Year-to-date Trade revenues were down 6.1%, at $8.4 billion for the first eleven months of the year. Hardback revenues were down 14.1%, coming in at $3.0 billion; Paperbacks were up 1.3%, with $3.0 billion in revenue; Mass Market was down 23.8% to $170.9 million; and Special Bindings were down 4.3%, with $185.7 million in revenue.
Next month we should have finalized figures for the entire US publishing industry. This should provide us with a good indication on how 2023 will go. I have a feeling that ebooks will continue to trend downwards, whereas audiobooks will continue to grow. Sometime in 2023, digital audiobook sales will surpass ebook sales and this will likely start to regularly occur going into 2024.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.