NPD reported on Wednesday what everyone already knew from the past few years of AAP monthly revenue reports: publisher ebook sales are down.
Unit sales of traditionally published e-books fell 10% in 2017, compared to 2016, according to figures released by PubTrack Digital, part of the NPD book group. The service, which tracks sales from about 450 publishers, said e-book unit sales hit 162 million last year, down from 180 million units in 2016.
NPD reported that combining print sales from its BookScan service with PubTrack digital sales, e-books accounted for 19% of total units (both print and digital) last year, down from 21% in 2016. The top selling e-book among the trade publishers, it reported, was The Handmaid’s Tale published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Back in 2015, when PubTrack Digital was still owned by Bookscan, PubTrack Digital reported that 223 million ebooks were sold by publishers in 2014.
That was shown to be under half the market then (around 44%). All independent reports suggest that the ebook market has not significantly shrunk in the intervening years, which means that the PubTrack Digital data points to a significant drop in market share for the publishers who supply data.
I would put it at around a third of units sold, but I am still waiting to see if Data Guy has estimates he can share from the Author Earning report.
I will update this post with his data if I can.
image by San José Public Library