US stats show 9% ebook share, grim news for print

The latest US book industry sales figures from the Association of American Publishers show ebooks are now tracking at 9% of domestic trade book revenue for the 8-month period January to August 2010.

This is up from 3.3% market share for the same period in 2009. To add some further perspective on how rapid this growth has been, ebooks were 1.12% of trade sales in calendar 2008.

Compare this to the grim reading for print in the same period:

  • Children/Young Adult. Hardback -14.6%, Paperback -7.6% (August only: -14.6% and -7.6% respectively)
  • Adult. Hardback +5.2%, Paperback -4.1% (August only: -24.4% and -18.3% respectively).

Ebook sales were US$293M for the eight months compared to total trade book sales of US$2.91B.The data is based on reported sales from participating APA members.

When you consider that most of these ebook sales would be for non-illustrated adult fiction and non-fiction—well under half of the $2.91B—it’s quite likely that the ebook share is closer to a third. This would be consistent with earlier claims by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos that, where a book is available in both e- and p- formats, about 35% of sales are ebooks.

For those of you interested, here is a fuller picture of US$24 billion US domestic book market (link to PDF file), including the large education sector.

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