eBooks are on the rise for the entire trade publishing sector, and they tend to net the entire publishing industry with stable growth. A recent survey conducted by Bookstats has stated that ebooks now account for 20% of all books sold in the US in 2012, and in 2011 they accounted for 15%. This equates to around three billion dollars in revenue for the entire digital industry, which is up 44% in 2011. Overall, the entire US publishing industry is thought to have generated $15 billion dollars in 2012.
One of the drawbacks of digital is at the obvious expense of printed books. Over the course of the last few years, publishers have adopted a same day digital edition when the printed version comes out. This has not directly influenced hardcover sales, but trade paperback books are on the decline. When paperback books are sold, they are often at supermarkets or drugstores. It is easier these days to just get the ebook months before the paperback version is released, at a cheaper price.
Audiobooks also saw nice gains in 2012. Revenue was up 21.8% year-over-year to $241 million. This is primary due to large marketing campaigns by Audible and Overdrive and the ability for authors to now self-publish their own audiobooks.
According to BookStats, sales through online retailers rose 21.3% in 2012, to $6.93 billion, while sales through brick and mortar outlets fell 7.0% to $7.47 billion. Obviously, on the retail level there are a lot of indie bookstores closing, and with Borders going out of business, there is a lack of availability in your average small town. Most customers are either borrowing digital editions from the library or via online retailers.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten 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.