New AAP Stats Show that Reports of the Demise of Paperbacks Were Greatly Exaggerated
Trade revenues for the 1,209 publishers who submit data to the AAP were up 4.4% so far this year ($4.2 billion to $4.3 billion), and when all of the revenue data, including PSP, Pre K-12 Instructional materials, and higher ed, the total revenues grew by 5.7%.
The adult segment dropped by a couple percent, while the YA segment increased by 25% (from $903 million to $1.1 billion). The religious press segment was also up 2%.
In terms of formats, downloaded audiobooks continued to be the best performer, growing by 27.7% growth over the same period in 2013. eBook revenues grew by 6% (from $1.0 billion to $1.1 billion). Revenues from paperback sales were up 5.3% (from $1.26 billion to $1.32 billion), while hard back sales increased by 1.3%.
All in all, there is very little change from the data released last month, which brings me to my title.
Over the past few weeks, I have heard a couple people repeat the "ebooks are killing paperbacks" meme. While that appeared to be true in past years, I seriously do not think that is the case any more. Paperback sales fluctuate, and ebook sales are slowly growing, but the gross cannibalization is no longer taking place.
eBooks might replace paperbacks in the long run, but the change is occurring so slowly that it’s impossible to suggest the possibility without better long term data.