Category Archives: Surveys/Statistics/Reports

E-books continue to grow significantly, sales reached $113 million in 2008, up 68.4%

Forwarding a post from

By Paul Biba

That is according to the Association of American Publishers. Here is their press release (emphasis added by the Editor):

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today released its annual estimate of total book sales in the United States. The report, which uses data from the Bureau of the Census as well as sales data from eighty-one publishers inclusive of all major book publishing media market holders, estimates that U.S. publishers had net sales of $24.3 billion in 2008, down from $25.0 billion in 2007, representing a 2.8% decrease. In the last six years the industry had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.6%.

Trade sales of adult and juvenile books fell 5.2 percent from 2007 to $8.1 billion, CAGR fell to 2.1 percent. Growth was found in paperbound books for children and adults, with growth rates of 6.4% and 3.6% respectively. Sales in the hardcover fell 12.4% in children’s hardcover and 13% in adult hardcover.

Over the period covered by the estimated data, the CAGR for hardbound books was 0.4% for adult books and 1.5% for juvenile. Paperbound books grew 3.9% and 2.8% over the 6 years.

Educational titles had a mixed year. Sales in the Elementary (El-Hi) category, those books produced for K-12 education, fell 4.4% to $6.1 billion in 2008, CAGR for this category was 0.8%. The Higher Education category, which includes sales of college textbooks, fared better. Total sales reached $3.8 billion this year up 2.7% on 2007. This brought the CAGR for college textbooks to 3.8%

Mass Market paperbacks decreased 3.0% and brought the category CAGR to -1.9%. Total sales were $1.1 billion in 2008. Book clubs and mail-order fell for the sixth year to $600 million, a fall of 3.4%.

Audio book sales for 2008 totaled $172 million, down 21% on the prior year, CAGR for this category is still healthy at 3.1%. E-books continue to grow significantly, sales reached $113 million in 2008, up 68.4%.

Religious book sales dropped 7.6% to $724m in 2008. However over the period of the estimate it has still performed well with CAGR of 4.5%.

A complete list of the preliminary estimated book publishing industry net sales for 2008 prepared by Management Practice, Inc. is available here.

E-book Usage Data Article

The April 1, 2009 “Off The Shelf” column features an article on E-book usage data.  The article surveyed 10 e-book vendors and aggregators for information on their usage data.  A comparative chart accompanies the article, which is only available online, on the NSR articles page.

7 vendors replied to the survey, 1 couldn’t participate due to usage data restructuring, and 2 did not reply.  The 2 no replies serve primarily the public and school library markets, so this usage chart is heavy on academic providers.

Patron Initiated Purchasing at ACRL

Thanks to the 100+ Librarians who attended our ACRL session on Patron Initiated Purchasing.  During the presentation, Alice and I surveyed the attendees, using audience response systems.  These results have been posted to the ACRL Virtual Conference.  In a nutshell:

85% of you have collection development responsibilities

94% purchase ebooks

61% were familiar with patron driven/patron initiated models

13% already use it, 68% are interested, and only 2% would not use it, the rest were uncertain

Reasons for using patron driven/patron initiated models include:

save time 11%, increase usage 25%, give patrons choices 25%, just in time resources 27%, provide chapters 11%

We had a great Q/A discussion afterwards as well.  During this I mentioned several resources on the blog.  They are linked here:

article on ebook pricing

article on Patron Driven Acquisition

Poll on PDA – currently on the homepage of the blog

interviews with publishers, aggregators, librarians

Glad you could attend.

Sue Polanka, Alice Crosetto,with Kari Paulson (President, EBL)

November e-book sales up 108%

The rise of e-books: IDPF reports November e-book sales up 108 percent—and here’s some analysis
By Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords

image Mark Coker is founder of Smashwords and Dovetail Public Relations, as well as moderator of a February 10 panel at Tools of Change on “The Rise of E-Book.” See a San Jose Mercury News Q & A on Smashwords (a publisher for independent writers), which recently signed a Stanza-related distribution deal. – D.R.

The IDPF says e-book sales were up 108 percent for the month of November 2008 compared to the same period a year ago. The data is provided in conjunction with surveys conducted by the American Association of Publishers, and represents wholesale sales from only 13 U.S.-based e-book publishers, so total reported sales figures understate actual sales.

imageFor the first eleven months of 2008, e-book sales were up about 64 percent, according to the IDPF.

Dig beneath the surface, and the numbers are striking. E-book sales are surging while the entire trade book industry suffers a decline. Are print sales suffering at the hands of e-book sales? Unlikely. Something else is happening.

For the five years between 2002 and 2007 (click here for data; opens a PDF), overall trade book sales averaged an annual increase of 2.5 percent. That’s lower than inflation, which means unit sales probably decreased.

By contrast, e-books for the same period turned in a 55.7 percent average annualized increase in sales revenue.

Tiny base—but still an accelerating growth rate

Granted, the robust sales growth for e-books was off of a tiny base to begin with. But fast forward to October of 2008, the date for which year-to-date sales are reported on the AAP web site , and you see overall trade book sales for the first 9 months of the year were down 3.4 percent while e-book sales were up about 58 percent. So the rate of e-book sales accelerated during the first 9 months of 2008 compared to the previous five years.

More interesting, for the month of October the AAP reported overall trade book sales suffered a 20 percent drop in the year over year monthly comparison, while e-book sales accelerated to 73 percent growth.

Numbers for November and December aren’t yet published on the AAP site, though today’s numbers from the IDPF, which are supplied by the AAP, indicated that e-book sales have accelerated yet again, up 108 percent for November.

As any numbers guy or gal will tell you, it’s easy to show great sales growth when you’re growing off of a small base. But when sales show sequential acceleration off of sequentially increasing bases (meaning, you grow faster as you grow larger), then something really interesting is taking place.

If we conservatively estimate that overall trade sales for 2008 declined 3 percent, and e-books sales increased 70 percent, then wholesale e-book sales will rise to $114 million and overall trade book sales will decline to $24.21 billion. In other words, e-books will still only represent 1/2 of 1 percent of book industry sales, at least here in the US.

If you extrapolate the 70 percent growth for five more years (and I would argue that 70 percent is a relatively conservative number), then e-books rise to $1.6 billion, and assuming a 2 percent growth rate of the overall trade book sales to $26.7 billion (generous), e-books would then represent a respectable 6 percent of sales.

If you’re attending the Tools of Change conference February 9-11, I invite you to attend a panel I’m moderating entitled, “The Rise of E-Books,” where we’ll explore the past, present and future of e-books and try to understand the implications of these numbers for publishers and authors alike.

In the meantime, if you’re an author, you need to start exposing your books to the digital realm. Clearly, as the numbers above indicate, you should continue to publish in print because e-book sales will account for only a small percentage of your overall sales. In the years ahead, however, e-books will become an increasingly important format for book consumption.

eBook sales will increase in UK libraries

According to a survey conducted in the UK by NetLibrary, most libraries do intend to increase the acquisition of eBooks in the coming years.

The highlights:

300 libraries responded

  • 3/4 of academic libraries intend to increase eBook collections
  • 1/2 of public libraries intend to increase eBook collections
  • 85% of publics were interested in fiction eBooks
  • 65% of publics were interested in building an audiobook collection

for more information, contact

eBook Sales Up Says AAP

AAP reports eBook sales jumped 77.8% to 5.1 million for September year to date.  However, overall book sales decreased.  Details of other categories below:

AAP Book Sales: Declines for September, Year-to-Date

In September, net sales decreased 2% to $1.062 billion for 80 publishers that reported to the Association of American Publishers. Net sales for the year through September have fallen 1.5% to $7.718 billion.
E-books jumped 77.8% to $5.1 million.
Children’s/YA hardcover increased 41.9% to $119.8 million.
Higher education rose 18.4% to $338.2 million.
Professional and scholarly edged up 6.8% to $60.5 million.
University press paperbacks gained 4.4% to $6.5 million.

Adult hardcover fell 29.8% to $173.3 million.
Children’s/YA paperback declined 19.1% to $51.5 million.
El-Hi dropped 17.6% to $325.1 million.
Audiobooks decreased 12.3% to $18.7 million.
Religious books fell 11.8% to $76.8 million.
Adult paperback decreased 8.6% to $134.7 million.
Adult mass market dropped 8.3% to $67.4 million.
University press hardcovers slid 3.6% to $6.3 million.

e-content will overtake traditional books in sales by 2018

Just one of the findings from the Frankfurt Book Fair survey of over 1,000 industry professionals.  All of the survey results are in the press release.

Here’s a snippet about the challenges, which I find interesting:

Challenges facing the industry

70 per cent of respondents may feel ready for the digital challenge, but industry professionals nevertheless recognised the need to work together to tackle certain issues. The following top four concerns will be discussed at length during this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair:

• copyright – 28 per cent – typical…
• digital rights management – 22 per cent  – Oh, that nasty DRM
• standard format (such as epub) – 21 per cent  – how about one platform while you’re at it
• retail price maintenance – 16 per cent – hopefully this will filter to library price maintenance too

JISC Survey Report – Managing and Promoting e-Content a Major Concern

JISC released a survey last week reporting the major concerns of library management (UK libraries).

Key findings included:

e-Resources/electronic content was cited most frequently as a key challenge facinglibraries and LRCs with issues including management, sharing, provision, access toand financial constraints. Others challenges included wider funding and financialissues (particularly within HE), and keeping up-to-date with new technologies andincorporating them into library/LRC services. Pressure on space was also mentionedcommonly by HE respondents. Press Release Full Report