The overall book market (as reported by the 1200 odd publishers who submit data to the AAP) was down about 1% from 2012 (to $7.01 billion from $7.07 billion), with the adult and religious book segments showing a slight increase and the YA segment dropping considerably (6.6%, in fact).
I have the publicly available data embedded below, but for this post I will focus on the good news about the ebook segment. The combined Adult/YA/Religious ebook segments were down only about half a percent in 2013 from the bubble in 2012 (t0 $1.53 billion from $1.54 billion).
Adult trade ebooks totaled $1.3 billion 2013, up 3.8% from $1.25 billion in 2012. Children’s and YA ebooks decreased significantly from their peak in 2012, with that segment dropping 26.7%, down to $170.5 million from $232.5 million in 2012. And finally, religious ebooks continued their steady growth with a 9.7% increase in sales (from $57.9 million in 2012 to $63.6 million in 2013).
While some are going to point at the statistics and describe the market as flat or growth as having flattened out, I see that the AAP data actually shows a decent growth rate in 2013.
No, this post is not a practical joke and no, this blogger has not been doing drugs. The very slight dip in the US ebook market in 2013 is actually a sign of a decent growth rate.
My interpretation of the AAP data is that the 2013 ebook market grew at a fast enough clip that it almost matched the ebook bubble from 2012, a year when 2 blockbuster titles (Hunger Games, 50 Shades) were credited with distorting the market.
Yes, the market looks flat but a truly flat market, one in which there is no growth, would show a noticeable drop (10% to 20%) in sales following the 2012 bubble. Do you see that difference in the 2013 data?
With that in mind, does anyone want to take bets as to whether the US ebook market will remain flat in 2014?
I predicted in January that the market growth would pick up again, but I was the only one to do so. Mark Coker, Jeremy Greenfield, and everyone else that I read predicted a flattening or contracting market. How much do you want to bet they are right?