New Figures Show US eBook Market Up 44% in 2012

tablet-book-300x225[1]The AAP has released new figures today for US ebook market in November 2012, and the news is generally good.

The US book market as a whole grew by 8% in the first 11 months of 2012, from $6.1 billion to $6.6 billion. Most market segments, including audiobooks and ebooks, were up as well (with the exception of paperbacks).

FYI: All figures are expressed as year-to-date. The AAP did not offer data specific to the month of November and simply subtracting the reported figure for October 2012 won’t work because it results in bad data (here’s why).

But the important news today is the ongoing success of ebooks.  The overall US ebook market (including adult, children, and religious) was worth $1.4 billion in the first 11 months of 2012, and that is up 44% from $994 million in the same period of 2011. As a combined total ebooks were about 22% of the total US book market in 2012.

According to the AAP, their members are reporting that the adult ebook segment accounted for $1.15 billion dollars in the first 11 months of 2012, up from $858 million in the same period in 2011. Children’s ebooks grew even faster, to $222.3 million from $92.3 million in 2011. And religious ebooks also increased to $53.4 million from $43.4 million.

A glance back at the AAP report from October shows that growth may have slowed. The first 10 months of 2012 demonstrated a growth rate of 46%; factor in November 2012 and it’s now 44%.

While some might suggest that growth has slowed, the difference might also be explained by a few publishers updating their balance books and resubmitting the updated data to the AAP. Or they could simply have supplied data containing errors which were later corrected.

I don’t plan to read anything into the month to month differences; I don’t have the data needed to place them in context.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Will Entrekin20 March, 2013

    Looked it up on PW. If I’m reading correctly, the number in parentheses indicates the number of reporting companies. In the case of electronic, it’s 26. That seems really, really low to me. Even considering all the imprints/companies of a conglomerate as one company.

  2. Fbone20 March, 2013

    Also, Super Storm Sandy will have depressed book sales in November. We were discarding all our books due to water damage. Thousands upon thousands of wet, moldy books at the curbs were a common sight. People’s priority was in restoring their homes first then possessions.

    We’ll probably see a rebound in 2013. Question is whether it will be in print or digital. Memories of heavy waterlogged boxes may incline some to go digital in future.

  3. DPP020: Books As Podcasts, Narrow Niches, Separate Twitter Accounts, and 4 More Ideas21 March, 2013

    […] market is growing, but I never remember the exact details to tell people. Well, I just came across an article this morning that said that the US ebook market grew 44% last year and 46% the year before that. […]

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