Some thoughts on yesterday’s ebook sales figures

Yesterday the AAP posted the reported sales figures for May 2010. I waited because I wanted to think about the numbers before I reported them. Here is what the press release said about ebooks:

E-book sales grew 162.8 percent for the month ($29.3 million), year-to-date eBook sales are up 207.4 percent. Year-To-Date E-book sales of the 13 submitting publishers to that category currently comprise 8.48 % of the total trade books market, compared to 2.89% percent for the same period last year.
Here are the reported ebook sales for May through January:

Ebooks sales: 29.3 27.4 28.5 28.9 31.9

Total sales: 715.3 629.8 458.2 486.3 814.9

Here's what I've learned:

  1. ebook sales went from being 3.9% in January to being 4.1% in May
  2. when total sales dropped in February and March, ebook sales also dropped (but not nearly as much)
  3. when total sales rose in April, ebook sales dropped again
  4. when total sales rose in May, ebook sales also rose

I can draw 4 thoughts from this.

One, I think ebook sales are largely flat so far this year, and that's the good news. If you plot the graph, the sales figure is actually trending down. Yes, sales are more than last year, but they peaked in January. Gee, I wonder if the A5/Amazon fracas may have damaged consumer confidence in ebooks? Smart move there, folks.

Two, iBooks didn't boost sales at all. The only effect the iPad might have had was to kill ebooks sales by encouraging people to wait. You can see that in the drop from January to April. Heck, even when people did get their iPad they still didn't buy more new ebooks.

Three, ebook sales don't seem to be affected by the same market pressures as other book sales. I think it would be useful if we could compare ebook sales with that of other digital media. I bet we'd see similar behavior.

Four, I don't think ebook sales will grow on their own at quite the same spectacular rate as last year.  Instead, I think market growth will be directly related to the publicity surrounding new ereader announcements. (The big January sales might have been caused by the Nook.)

About Nate Hoffelder (11467 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Mehr E-Book-Verkäufe als Hardcover-Bücher | | All about future media
  2. Mehr E-Book-Verkäufe als Hardcover-Bücher | print24 News&Blog
  3. Ebook sales have reached a plateau | The Digital Reader

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