The Association of American Publishers has announced that in 2019 ebook sales declined 4.9% and generated $1.94 billion. Overall sales are down 30.8% for the five-year period of 2015-2019. Digital audiobooks remains the fastest growing digital revenue segment in the industry, generating $1.31 billion in revenue in 2019, a 15.9% increase over 2018. In the five-year period from 2015-2019, downloaded audio grew a total of 143.8%.
The publishing industry revenue was essentially flat, coming in at $25.93 billion for the year, which was a 1.1% increase as compared to $25.63 billion in 2018.For the third consecutive year, publisher sales to online retail channels exceeded sales to physical retail channels, with the margin continuing to grow wider. Online retail sales in 2019 were $8.22 billion. Over the last five years, publisher sales to online retail channels have grown by nearly 20%. Sales to physical retail were $5.86 billion. Over the past five years publisher sales to physical retailers have decreased by 35.9%.
The AAP gets its data from publishers and distributors who report sales. They do not account for ebooks/audiobooks that participate in unlimited lending schemes.
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.