The AAP has just released a new sales report today. The report covers the first half of this year and is based on data provided by 1196 US publishers, and it shows that the overall US book market was down 6%, largely due to kid’s books and adult paperbacks, while the ebook market dropped by 3.6%.
Participating publishers reported a total of $3.1 billion in book sales, down from $3.3 billion for the same period past year. This includes a 1.1% drop in adult book sales ($2173.6 million vs $2196.8 million), a 22.1% drop in the YA segment ($644.5 million vs $827.2 million), and a slight increase in sales of religious books ($276.3 million vs $274.7 million).
The drop in sales in the kids segment is probably due to the lack of a blockbuster title on the same scale as last year’s The Hunger Games; the release of the movie caused a spike in book and ebook sales that distorted the market. That spike had affected previous reports and is still distorting the market.
Moving on to digital, total ebook and audiobook sales (across all segments) decreased by 3.6% for the first 6 months of 2013 ($828.4 million vs $860 million). Audiobook sales were up, and ebook sales were up in most segments, but thanks to The Hunger Games the total reported ebook sales dropped.
Seriously, the YA ebook segment dropped by almost half ($83.7 million vs $153.7 million) and dragged down the total report.
But in spite of the bad news there is a silver lining. The spike in sales last year was caused by kids seeing the movie and then reading the ebook. That represents millions of kids reading, and I can live with that.
On a related note, ebooks continue to account for a larger percentage of the adult segment than paperback books ($635.1 million vs $647.7 million). That trend has been around since at least the first quarter of this year, and possibly even earlier.
P.S. Here is the source data I worked from. Enjoy.