Over the course of the last twelve months major publishers have all reported that e-book revenue has begun to plummet. This downward trend has continued into 2016, as HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette have all reported diminished revenue.
Simon & Schuster has just released their quarterly financial results and e-book sales accounted for just 21% of total publishing revenues in the fourth quarter, down from the 24% they accounted for in the same quarter a year earlier. The publisher also ackonolgod that digital might be down, but they have seen an 8% increase in sales, due to print.
HarperCollins on the other hand mentioned that e-book revenue dropped by 5%, compared to the same quarter last year. Digital sales now represent 16% of HC’s consumer revenues in the quarter, which has a 1% drop from the same period last year.
Hachette reported that in 2015 market trends have been reversed in the US and UK, with a rebound in volumes of printed books to the detriment of e-books, due to new contract terms with Amazon. The publisher said overall digital sales decreased, making up 7.5% of total sales in the fourth quarter 2015, compared to 10.0% in the fourth quarter 2014.
I am not surprised that e-book sales continue to decline. Amazon trained everyone that the standard price of an e-book was $9.99, but publishers wanted to charge more money and this drove the average price to $12.99 to $17.99.
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.