US eBook Market Grew by 5% in Q1 2013, AAP Reports

US eBook Market Grew by 5% in Q1 2013, AAP Reports AAP ebook sales statistics The AAP has put out a new press release today with some tidbits on the the state of the US book market. The data is drawn from the StatShot report, and while I don't have all the stats available but what I do have is a little startling.

Update: If you came to this post via one of the articles which argued ebook sales are flattening, don't believe it. That conclusion is wrong, and I can prove it.

The AAP is reporting that the 1192 publishers which submit their sales data to the AAP did not see a significant increase in the ebook market in the first quarter of this year. Sales of adult ebooks increased by 13%, but children's ebooks dropped by 30% (religious ebooks held steady).

US eBook Market Grew by 5% in Q1 2013, AAP Reports AAP ebook sales statistics

Fewer kids are doing this.

The overall ebook market grew from $374.8 million to $393.6 million, or about 5%. That is far below the growth reported in previous years, but it is still good news. The AAP also reported the total reported book sales dropped by 4.7% (from $1.5 billion to $1.4 billion) thanks to a severe drop in the children's and YA segment (24.6%).

In that context the 5% growth is not bad. Audiobooks also increased by 14% ($24.8 million to $28.3 million), so there is some good news.

In spite of the spectacular growth of ebooks in 2008 to 2011, we all know that eventually the ride would come to a stop as the growth of ebook market share slowed. TBH I didn't expect it to happen so quickly.

Of course, these statistics only represent publishers sending their data to the AAP and not the entirety of the US ebook market. One can still hope that indie pub saw better growth than this.

For those who are interested, here is the data:

US eBook Market Grew by 5% in Q1 2013, AAP Reports AAP ebook sales statistics

image by historygradguy

About Nate Hoffelder (9906 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."

11 Comments on US eBook Market Grew by 5% in Q1 2013, AAP Reports

  1. Well, the ebook business iss taking on the a lot of the traits of the console aming business–including it’s heavy seasonality so it’s not too surprising.
    Still, if one wanted to cnsider possiblities, one could argue that the mainstreaming of indie publishing (with its generally lower price points) may be drawing away a significant share of sales. After all, B&N did say 25% of their sales were indie.
    Another possibility is that the avid reader market is tapped out–their TBR lists fully populated–and most growth is coming from casual readers, who generally buy books when they’re going to read them, not to stockpile.

    Or maybe the folks at Validation Publishing were right and ebooks are just a fad. đŸ˜‰

    • BTW, reports like this won’t be too welcome at B&N… They certainly wont help their attempts to get a decent sale price for Nook Media.

      • Why? NOOK content sales were up year-over-year.

        • Seriously?
          “A company that couldn’t make a profit in a booming market is going to turn it around in a flat market?”
          Anybody looking to bid on Nook is going to use this kind of report as an excuse to lowball the bid, regardless of whether they believe it or not. Anything that even hints at limited growth potential is going to cut into the market value of the unit because its value lies in that potential.

  2. A 5% quarterly growth rate is equivalent to 21% annually, 265% over five years, and over 700% per decade.

    Many businesses would kill for those kinds of numbers.

    Conversely the -4.7% quarterly negative growth for books as a whole is -18% annually, -62% for five years, and -85% for a decade.

  3. What are the current blockbusters on the market today? Maybe the slower than expected growth is due to the lack of a blockbuster title. Dan Brown’s “Inferno” is on the NY Best Seller’s list, but I don’t think it has the same effect as Hunger Games or 50 Shades did on overall content sales.

    • If it’s the lack of blockbusters, then things are even worse (for the reporting publishers?) because then their ebook sales would be barely growing for over a year: last year 50 shades did monster business and if you subtract those sales…

  4. Sadly, self-reported data is about as reliable as anecdotal evidence.

    I realize it’s about the best data we can hope for (until Amazon and Apple start sharing data), but it’s as incomplete as Bowker and BookScan.

  5. Looking at the wrong math here. Rate of growth was down, absolutely. However, there was a -4.7% change in all book sales from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013. The fact that ebooks still grew by 5% means they completely outpaced every other set of book sales. Like, ridiculously.

    Q1 2012 ebook sales made up 24.3% of total sales. Q1 2013 ebook sales made up 26.8% of total sales. That’s roughly a 10% jump in share of total sales.

    Further, adult fiction/nonfiction ebooks are now the greatest share of sales, even outpacing paperback. That, in and of itself should be a story.

    This whole thing seems like poor reporting to me.

3 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The flattening of e-book sales | ROUGH TYPE
  2. Ebook Readers Wars - Kobo Takes On Mighty Amazon In India!
  3. Here comes another round of articles about e-book sales slowing down

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: