Ebooks overtake hardcovers in adult fiction

For the first time, sales of adult fiction e-books surpassed that of traditional hardcovers.
The annual survey by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group also found that sales of ebooks overall (that is, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as adult, young adult and children’s) doubled between 2010 and 2011.

Fuelled by the success of the “Hunger Games” trilogy, young adult fiction was the fastest growing publishing category in 2011.
Overall, digital books kept up their explosive growth last year, the survey confirmed. Publishers’ net revenue from sales of e-books more than doubled last year, reaching US$2.07 billion (S$2.6 billion), up from US$869 million in 2010. E-books accounted for 15.5 per cent of publishers’ revenues.
But as digital revenue grew, print sales suffered, dropping to US$11.1 billion last year from $12.1 billion in 2010.
The survey also revealed that revenue in the overall trade book business was relatively flat. Publishers’ net revenues in 2011 were $13.97 billion, up from $13.9 billion in 2010, an increase of 0.5%.
Children’s books, a category that includes young-adult fiction like the hugely popular “Hunger Games” trilogy, grew 12% in 2011, to $2.78 billion from $2.48 billion in 2010.
The Consumer Attitudes toward E-Book Reading study, powered by Bowker Market Research, points to a buoyant book market. Nearly 30% of respondents in the February 2012 survey reported an increase in dollars spent on books in all formats since they began acquiring e-books, while nearly 50% reported an overall increase in the volume of titles purchased in any format.
The numbers are even rosier for the e-book market: more than 62% of respondents reported an increase in dollars spent on e-books, and more than 72% said they have increased the volume of e-titles they are buying. Some publishers are reporting that even when overall revenue has declined, profitability – particularly for e-books – has increased.
The annual survey, known as BookStats, includes data from nearly 2,000 publishers of all sizes. It was conducted by two trade groups, the Book Industry Study Group and the Association of American Publishers.