e-Book sales have dramatically plummeted for the past two years, as publishers gained the ability to set their own prices and eliminated the big discounts that Amazon used to provide. From January to August 2016 e-books were down 18.9%, meanwhile audiobooks continued their historic rise and grew 28.9%.
Overview of Publisher Revenue
- From Jan. to Aug., sales in all tracked categories were down 6.7% to $9.7 billion vs. the same time in 2015. Tracked categories include: Trade – fiction/non-fiction/religious, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses.
Trade by Category
- From Jan. to Aug. trade sales were slightly up (0.5%) to $4.25 billion:
- Adult Books had $2.94 billion in sales, down 1.5%
- Children’s/YA Books had $1.02 billion in sales, up 5.0%
- Religious Presses had $284.3 million in sales, up by 6.7%
Trends for Trade by Format
- From Jan. to Aug. 2016 vs. 2015:
- Paperback books grew 8.8%
- Downloaded audio grew 28.9%
- Hardback books grew 4.1%
- eBooks were down 18.9%
Educational Materials and Professional Books
- Educational Materials had a revenue loss of 7.0% for K-12 Instructional Materials and 14.3% for Higher Education Course Materials from Jan. to Aug. 2016 vs. 2015.
- Professional Publishing was down 20.8% from Jan. to Aug. 2016 vs. the same time in 2015. These categories include business, medical, law, scientific and technical books. University presses were down 4.2% during the first eight months of 2016 vs. 2015.
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.