The Association of American Publishers recently filed a report that proved that eBooks are here to stay and enjoy constant sales. According to the data, eBook sales have increased triple-digit percentage growth, 202.3%, since February 2010. Downloaded Audiobooks, which have also seen consistent monthly gains, increased 36.7% vs last February.
February, which is most often one of the slowest months due to holiday season spending, saw very robust sales. Total eBook sales were said to be around 90.3 million dollars in spending.
A very interesting statistic shows that eBooks in February beat out all other realms of the publishing industry. More people purchased the electronic version rather then hardcovers and trade paperbacks.
One of the main factors attributing to the increased sales of eBooks in February was the fact that many customers received e-readers for Christmas and are loading them up with content. Many experts have acknowledged that the sheer number of new e-readers on the market helped with the increased sales of digital books.
Other factors include the fact that e-readers enjoy more widespread availability in the retail sphere then ever before. They are not limited to just being online purchases anymore and instead are impulse buys. Stores like Staples, Bestbuy, WalMart, and others all stock a wide array of e-readers.
The Final factor is due to the increased competition of e-readers and the overall price being driven down. Also, new models are constantly being introduced, giving people a reason to upgrade to the latest and greatest without breaking the bank.
So how are people actually buying books? Are they bestsellers only or older books? The information is mixed; various Trade publishing houses have mentioned that one of the main facets on eBook sales volume is because of the interest in buying more “backlist” titles. Many readers will purchase the latest bestseller or randomly buy a new book and then download the previous books the author has written if the book was good.
According to Tom Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer of AAP, “The February results reflect two core facts: people love books and publishers actively serve readers wherever they are. The public is embracing the breadth and variety of reading choices available to them. They have made e-Books permanent additions to their lifestyle while maintaining interest in print format books.”
Allen added that book publishers have been leaders among content providers in identifying and serving new audiences. “Publishers have always strategically expanded into all the markets and formats where readers want to find books, whether it was Trade Paperback, Mass Market or now digital. By extending their work as developers, producers and marketers of high-quality content to emerging technologies, publishers are constantly redefining the timeless concept of ‘books.’”
For the year to date (January/February 2011 vs January/February 2010), which encompasses this heavy post-holiday buying period, e-Books grew 169.4% to $164.1M while the combined categories of print books fell 24.8% to $441.7M.
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.