Publishers Fail To Protect Print Sales

It has been apparent for quite some time that large publishers had been desperately trying to slow the (inevitable) transition to e-books – much as they might deny it. Despite all the breathless talk of “transmedia” and “metadata” and the furious rate of backlist digitization, the overarching strategy was clear: protect print sales at all costs, and pray that e-books will plateau soon (and that international markets won’t take to them with quite the same relish). This is the only logical conclusion from tactics that include pricing e-books artificially high (even, allegedly, going as far as price-fixing, for which they are being investigated by the EU, the (US) Justice Department, and are the subject of a number of class action Read More…

July AAP Figures Show Continuing E-book Explosion

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has released its figures for the month of July. Aside from a bump in hardcover numbers, the same trends we have seen all year are visible: print down and e-books surging. As always, the AAP figures come with a health warning. Only a very limited number of houses report, and you should hesitate before drawing hard-and-fast conclusions, especially with regard to the raw revenue numbers. However, it’s useful to look at the trends, which are confirmed by more comprehensive sources. The figures in the table below are in millions of dollars.

AAP Figures for June Show Dramatic Print Slump, Continuing Ebook Explosion

The American Association of Publishers (AAP) figures for June were finally released last week (about a month late), and the news is not good for fans of print books. Like the figures for May, all major print categories are down, while e-books continue to surge. But the headline figure this month is that trade paperback sales, which are usually reasonably robust, have just collapsed. The figures in the table below are in millions of dollars. You should note that this month there are just 78 houses reporting print data and only 15 reporting e-data, so the usual caveats apply (although the trends are clear and confirmed from other sources).

Publishing: Not In Such Bad Shape After All?

The long-awaited BookStats report has been released, leading some to immediately conclude that publishing is actually in pretty good shape – despite the doom-mongering from certain quarters (such as, I suppose, from me). In case you don’t know, BookStats is the most comprehensive survey of the US publishing industry to date, produced jointly by the Book Industry Study Group and the American Association of Publishers (AAP) – collating data from nearly 2,000 publishers, large and small. I’m not going to go into too much detail on its findings, as I haven’t actually read the report (it costs $600) and I am only working from the public summaries. (And if anyone spots any detailed analysis out there by someone who has Read More…

The Relentless March of E-books

The AAP released their monthly figures (for May) on Thursday, and the same trends that we have seen all year have continued. Print is in freefall. Adult hardback dropped 38.2% year-on-year, adult trade paperback fell 14.3%, and adult mass-market paperback plunged 39.4%. By contrast, e-books grew 146.9% year-on-year. Children’s YA paperback bucked the trend by growing in May 2011 by 4.7% year-on-year. However, when we look at how all categories are performing in the first five months of 2011, these kind of spikes tend to flatten out. Print is being hammered. Adult hardback is down 23.4% from the same period in 2010. Adult trade paperback is down 17.9%. Adult mass-market paperback is down 30.1%. Children’s/YA hardback is down 6.3%. Children’s YA/Paperback Read More…

Adult Fiction Print Sales Collapse: Down 25.7%

A cursory look at the Kindle Top 100 will tell you that all the action is in Adult fiction. This is especially true for self-published work, where a non-fiction or children’s/YA hit is a rare beast. This was borne out in a recently released Bowker survey covering the last quarter of 2010. That showed e-books as having captured a share of the adult fiction market that was three times larger than the respective share of the children’s/YA market and more than twice as large as that of non-fiction. That in itself poses more questions than answers, but there is an obvious conclusion: this first big wave of new e-reader owners are fiction fans. There is, of course, another side to Read More…

Print Continues Its Death Spiral

JK Rowling’s announcement that she is self-publishing the Harry Potter e-books pretty much drowned everything else out yesterday, but there was some other news that should be highlighted. The American Association of Publishers (AAP) released figures for April 2011. Adult Hardback was in first position again this month, with $111.4m in sales (a sharp drop of over 20% from $142.9m in April 2010). Adult trade paperback was in second position again this month with $95.9m (down from $128.2m or a drop of 25%). Ebooks held steady in third position with $72.8m (an increase of 165% on last year’s $27.4m).

AAP Figures Released: E-Books Keep on Truckin’ But Print Isn’t Dead Yet

The American Association of Publishers (AAP) have released their figures for March. The headline figures were that e-books grew 145.7% year-on-year from March 2010 (in revenue terms), and print bounced back after a terrible start to the year, with two categories showing gains. Adult Hardcover was up 6% year-on-year and Adult Mass Market Paperback grew 1.2%. Adult Trade Paperback fell 7.7%. Despite that drop, Adult Trade Paperback was the #1 selling format at $115.9m, followed by Adult Hardback at $96.6m, e-books at $69m, and Adult Mass Market Paperback at $55.2m.

The Future Has Happened Already: E-books Overtake Paperback Sales in the U.S.

E-books are now the #1 selling format in the U.S.  And that’s not just in terms of volume, but in dollars too. The Association of American Publishers (AAP) yesterday released sales figures for the month of February, and I was blown away.  E-book sales (year on year) grew over 200%.  They now comprise 29.5% of the market.  And this is only e-book data from 16 of the biggest publishers reporting versus 84 publishers reporting print data, the real number could be higher. But the headline news was this: e-books are the top-selling format across all trade categories. More than paperback!