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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : June 21, 2012

Ebooks now outsell hardbacks

For the first time ever, ebook revenues have exceeded hardcovers, according to new figures released by the Association of American Publishers.

by Helen Leggatt

The AAP's figures reveal that, electronic books accounted for $282.3 million in sales in the first quarter of 2012, up 28.1% on last year.

It's the first time that ebook sales have accounted for more revenue than hardcover books, sales of which accounted for $229.6 million in the first quarter of this year, up 2.7% from last year.

The only category in which hardcover books experienced growth was in young adult and children's material. Revenues in this category rose to $187.7 million whereas ebooks reached $64.3, albeit a healthy year-on-year hike from just $3.9 million. As e-reading devices fall in price, and more children have access to e-book readers, this category is set to skyrocket.

Paperbacks continue to lead with $299.8 million in revenue, although there has been a decrease on last year when the format generated $335 million in revenue.

Tags: consumer insight, e-book, e-readers, Kindle, publishing, tablet

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  • Andi Sporkin, AAP

    Thanks for the mention but as the person who produced and released the report you mention, let me tell you your statements are untrue.  This isn't the first time that publishers saw more revenue from ebooks than from hardcovers; those two formats have changed places in our monthly and year-to-date reports several times in the last two years.  While ebooks' popularity is certainly due to the rise of e-readers, it also reflects seasonal buying habits: there's always a increase in ebook sales after the holiday gift-giving season, specifically January/February.  Which is 2/3 of the first quarter you're citing.  What you also ignore is that for both first quarters of 2011 and 2012, paperbacks ranked as the #1 format, outselling both e-book and hardcovers.
    Andi Sporkin
    Association of American Publishers



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