No, E-book Sales Are Not Declining–Reblog from Nathan Bransford

This is a topic I’ve been following for quite a while and thought that Nathan Bransford (talented author, former agent with Curtis Brown, and now the social media manager at CNET) did a great job of summing up the current truth about e-book sales. Below is his blog dated April 25, 2013.

“An idea has taken root in the bookosphere that e-book sales have peaked as the people who want e-books buy e-books and the people who want print continue to buy print. This may be spurred along by a January article by Nicholas Carr arguing that the e-book bubble has burst.

This is not remotely the case. E-book sales aren’t declining. E-book sales percentage growth is declining. These are two very, very different things.

The 6.2% rise in book sales in 2012 were propelled to an increase by e-book sales, and in fact, e-book sales for children’s books more than doubled. E-book sales were up 41% in 2012. This is less in percentage terms than the exponential 100%+ growth that was seen in previous years, but it still represents a significant rise in sales.

What is misleading about fixating on percentage growth is that it’s looking at a market that started at zero five years ago.

Take these stats from the AAP:

E-book sales increase 41% in 2012

E-book sales increase 117% in 2011

E-book sales increase 164% in 2010

Seems like things are really slowing down right?

Let’s look at those numbers again in real terms:

E-book sales in 2012: $1.3 billion (+$330.1 million)

E-book sales in 2011: $969.9 million (+$528.6 million)

E-book sales in 2010: $441.3 million (+$274.4 million)

E-book sales in 2009: $166.9 million

Yes, 2011 was a huge increase. But growth in 2012 (41%) was still greater than in 2010, when it represented a 164% increase.

Here’s what that looks like in chart form:

That doesn’t look like a decline to me.

UPDATE: As David Gaughran notes in the comments, the AAP’s stats don’t count self-published e-books, which could account for as many as 25% of all e-book sales.

via No, E-book Sales Are Not Declining | Nathan Bransford, Author.”

About nwharrisbooks

Born and raised in a small town in north Georgia, my imagination evolved under the swaying pines surrounding my family's log home. On summer days that were too hot, winter days that were too cold, and every night into the wee hours I read books. My face was rarely seen, always hidden behind a binding. I was nurtured on fiction. Now it is my turn to create some of my own. I live in sunny southern California with my beautiful wife and two perfect children (I may be biased). I write like I read, constantly. I studied anthropology at UCSB and medicine at SUNY Buffallo.
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4 Responses to No, E-book Sales Are Not Declining–Reblog from Nathan Bransford

  1. L. Marie says:

    Glad to know that. I buy print and ebooks. Glad to know that book sales continue PERIOD!

  2. TamrahJo says:

    As a previous compiler of statistical data and charts, I always get a laugh out of the total misinterpretation of data to support one’s theory – –

    I think self-publishing and eBooks will do for the literary world and writers, what Youtube and Itunes did for music and musicians –
    I’m so glad to be alive right now! LOL

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