According to the Association of American Publishers the US e-book market is currently worth $729 million dollars. This is a little bit misleading because it does not count self-published e-books that do not have ISBN numbers. If we take into account total sales, including the titles without an ISBN, what type of market share does Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Google have in the US e-book market?
In the US, more than 95% of all consumer eBook purchases — and probably closer to 99% of them — go through just five major retailers. Amazon currently enjoys 74% of all US eBook purchases and 71% of all US consumer dollars spent on eBooks. The Applee iBooks store, accounts for roughly 10-12% of US eBook sales — or a third of what’s left. After iBooks comes Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, which despite its steepening downward slide over the past two years, still remains the number three eBook retailer with about 7-8%. What is quite surprising is that Toronto based Kobo only accounts for half of Barnes and Nobles digital sales, which is around 3-4% of the total US market.Google Play Book has the smallest market share, making up 1-2% of today’s eBook market.
Historically, Amazon did not have the type of dominance that it has today. In 2010 Amazon only had 54% of the market, while Nook had 26% and the Sony Reader Store garnered 10-12%. In 2012 Amazon rose to have a controlling interest of 65% of the digital book market while Nook decreased to 20% and Kobo had a meager 8%.
Indie authors have cause for celebration with recent Author Earnings Data. In the United States 84% of all paid indie downloads happen on Amazon and 80% of all indie author earnings are generated on Amazon. Something has to be said for going exclusive with Amazon, since the bulk of sales occur in that sales channel.
Update: We now have some new data.
408 million / 802 million = 51% of all fiction books of any format sold in the US in 2014 were EBOOKS
499 million / 802 million = 62% of all fiction books of any format sold in the US in 2014 were sold online
139 million / 802 million = 17.5% of all fiction books of any format sold in the US in 2014 were indie fiction EBOOKS (add another 1% for print)
But don’t forget that a lot of that print fiction is children’s fiction… board books, early chapter books, and the like.
For ADULT fiction, specifically, the 2014 mix skewed even more “e”:
355 million / 528 million = 67% of all adult fiction books of any format sold in the US in 2014 were EBOOKS
411 million / 528 million = 78% of all adult fiction books of any format sold in the US in 2014 were sold online
127 million / 528 million = 24% of all adult fiction books of any format sold in the US in 2014 were indie adult fiction EBOOKS
ETA: all in units, not dollars.
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.