Ebook sales surge from January 2011 to January 2012








Do you think eBooks are a fad, a flash in the publishing pan? Think again.

The Association of American Publishers released a report last Wednesday, March 28, 2012, on the astounding growth in sales of digital books across all major categories.

I first saw these sales numbers yesterday when a friend of mine sent me a link in an email for an article from VentureBeat.com (no connection to venturegalleries, by the way) that had taken the AAP report and interpreted it for readers at Venture Beat. The folks at Venture Beat had taken the AAP material and put it in some charts, which I have added to this post.

Here’s the first chart:

ebook-sales January 2012 vs Jan 2011



If we put a pencil to that, we find that children’s and youth eBooks sold 3.9 mil in January 2011 and surged to 22.6 mil in January 2012.  During the same period, adult eBook sales expanded from 66.1 mil to 99.5 mil.


I would guess that the phenomenal growth of children’s and youth books are probably the result of two things.  First, is the proliferation of eReaders and tablets that will display illustrations in children’s books much better than the previous generation of eReaders.  Second is THE HUNGER GAMES.

How about those reading devices? Did anyone buy a Kindle, a Kindle Fire, an iPad, a Nook or some other kind of eReader or tablet during the Christmas holidays?

Chart two:


Almost twenty percent of adults in the U. S. now own an eReader or a tablet.

Wow again.

But don’t sales of paperback books, the cash cow of traditional publishing, still far out distance those of eBooks for the adult market?

Hold on just a minute.

Chart three:



That’s right.  In January 2012, adult paperbacks accounted for 26.8% of all books sales, while adult eBook sales were less than two points back at 25.4%.

Wow for the third time.

Okay.  By now you want to know how far eBooks have penetrated into the entire market.   Remember in the pre-historic days of digital publishing (a year or two ago), when we would go to writers’ conferences and ask about eBooks and the presenters from NYC would pooh-pooh us.  Remember how they would say, “Ebooks only represent a tiny fraction of book sales, maybe five percent. They will never replace good old paper books.”

Chart four:


It looks like the little guys, the unwashed masses of indie publishing, may be sneaking up on the big boys.




How do you spell “eBook revolution”?







, , , , , ,

Related Posts