There's a new "report" going around which says Amazon's ebook sales grew by 6% last year, but it isn't even worth the electrons required to store the webpage it's on.
Amazon.com's book sales grew 46% to $3bn (£2.33bn) in the first half of 2017, while e-book sales increased 6% to $750m, making the book sector a "stable contributor" to the company's overall success, according to e-commerce company One Click Retail.
One Click Retail uses a combination of website indexing, machine learning and proprietary software to estimate weekly online sales figures for Amazon. Its research determined that Amazon.com netted $136bn (£105.8bn) worth of sales across all categories in 2016. Of this total, it estimated that Amazon's print book sales amounted to $4.7bn and e-book sales were $1.4bn in 2016.
Now that you've read it, go ahead and ignore it.
I have perused the report and come to the conclusion that it is worthless, because:
- its research is lacking,
- its methodology is kept hidden from readers, and
- its conclusions are contradicted by other sources.
The problem with the background research is that this report makes the classic mistake of misconstruing industry revenue stats from the AAP and the UK Publisher's Association. Like mainstream media, this report assumes that AAP stats reflect retail sales for the the entire US market.
The AAP will tell you that is not the case; they will tell you they release data about publisher revenue, not retail sales. They will also tell you that the data does not cover the entire US book publishing industry.
The other problem with the background research is that it missed at least one important resource: Author Earnings Report. This is an independent report on the ebook market, and it's not mentioned anywhere.
And that is important because the AE Report recently released its own figures that contradict the report from OneClickDigital.
OneClickDigital, on the other hand, said Amazon had $1.4 billion in ebook sales last year.
Given that we know how AE Report generates its estimates using methodologies that have been accepted by the industry, and yet know nothing about OCD's methods, we can safely conclude that the latter's report cannot be trusted.
Or at least that's my opinion; what do you think of the report?