August E-Book Sales Near Record at $88.8M

 Posted by at 10:09 PM  Tagged with: ,
Oct 292011
 

Aug 2011 e-book sales rise to $88.8M

Clocking in with what many cultures will consider an auspicious number, August 2011 e-book sales increased to $88.8M, the second-highest month on record (behind only February 2011’s $90.3M). That marks an increase of 116.5% over last year. Meanwhile, according to the Association of American Publishers:

All trade print segments had a decline in August sales with the largest coming in mass market paperback where sales from reporting companies fell 36.4%. … Sales were off by double digits in all trade print segments in the January-August period.

Ouch. For those of you keeping score, e-book sales in the first 8 months of 2011 are up to $649.2M (an increase of 116.5% over last year, more than double). The AAP now only sporadicly reports print book sales figures, but based on percentages, mass-market paperback sales in August were about $34.9M, well under half of e-book sales.

For the past 13 months:

  • Aug 2010: $39.0 M
  • Sep 2010: $39.9 M
  • Oct 2010: $40.7 M
  • Nov 2010: $46.6 M
  • Dec 2010: $49.5 M
  • Jan 2011: $69.9 M
  • Feb 2011: $90.3 M
  • Mar 2011: $69.0 M
  • Apr 2011: $72.8 M
  • May 2011: $87.7 M
  • June 2011: $80.2 M
  • July 2011: $82.6M
  • Aug 2011: $88.8M
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July E-Book Sales at $82.6M

 Posted by at 1:02 PM  Tagged with: ,
Oct 142011
 

July e-book sales came in at $82.6M, more than double the amount from July of last year, and slightly above June’s total of $80.2M.

July 2011 e-book sales: $82.6M

The recap for the past 13 months:

  • July 2010: $40.8 M
  • Aug 2010: $39.0 M
  • Sep 2010: $39.9 M
  • Oct 2010: $40.7 M
  • Nov 2010: $46.6 M
  • Dec 2010: $49.5 M
  • Jan 2011: $69.9 M
  • Feb 2011: $90.3 M
  • Mar 2011: $69.0 M
  • Apr 2011: $72.8 M
  • May 2011: $87.7 M
  • June 2011: $80.2 M
  • July 2011: $82.6M

Sadly, it seems that Publisher’s Weekly has stopped giving us much data regarding print book sales, making it harder to compare and analyze the data, as I am wont to do. All they provided this month was the adult hardcover figure, which was $91.2M. They did tell us that:

Despite the strong July performance, adult hardcover sales were down 17.8% for the seven month period, while e-book sales were up 152.8%, to $560.5 million. With the exception of adult hardcover, sales were down in all other print trade segments in July.

UPDATE: Undaunted, I went back and estimated sales based on the percent changes provided and my records of last year’s sales figures, and came up with the following chart of e-book sales as a percentage of total e-book plus print book sales.

Percentage of e-book sales to total print + e-book sales

The raw figures: 23.4% for January, 26.6% in February, 16.9% in March, 18.8% in April, 23.5% in May, and 26.9% in June. Note the huge bump just after the holidays (as people fill up the new e-readers they got as gifts), and then the reversion to the continuing upward trend thereafter.

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June 2011 E-Book Sales $80.2M

 Posted by at 12:24 PM  Tagged with: ,
Sep 122011
 

June e-book sales are in, at $80.2M, which is a little below May’s $87.7M figure. Overall, sales so far in 2011 have been somewhat up and down, but each month has been consistently well above even the best month of 2010 (December’s $49.5M).

Monthly e-book sales. June 2011: $80.2M

To recap, the last 13 months of e-book sales data:

  • June 2010: $29.8 M
  • July 2010: $40.8 M
  • Aug 2010: $39.0 M
  • Sep 2010: $39.9 M
  • Oct 2010: $40.7 M
  • Nov 2010: $46.6 M
  • Dec 2010: $49.5 M
  • Jan 2011: $69.9 M
  • Feb 2011: $90.3 M
  • Mar 2011: $69.0 M
  • Apr 2011: $72.8 M
  • May 2011: $87.7 M
  • June 2011: $80.2 M

Quarterly e-book sales. Q2 2011: $240.7M

For the quarter, e-book sales came in at nearly a quarter of a billion dollars, at $240.7M. After last quarter’s $229.2M, e-books are not quite on pace to hit a billion dollars for the year. (Publisher’s Weekly says first-half 2011 sales total $473.8M, which is a little higher than adding all their monthly totals; they seem to add in some late-reporting sales or something.)

Sadly, PW also seems to have stopped providing as much detail on breaking down print book sales (hardcovers, trade paperbacks, etc.), although they did reveal that print book sales “plunged” in June, with trade paperback sales down a whopping 64%, adult hardcovers down 25%, and mass-market paperbacks down 22%. Certainly the closing of Borders stores has not been kind to print book sales. While they didn’t provide breakdowns, with those steep declines it’s hard to see any print categories beating out e-book sales in June.

UPDATE: Based on my comparisons to last year’s figures, we can safely estimate that even the largest print category (adult hardcover at roughly $55.6M) was well under e-book sales for the month. I’ve also dug up some 6-month figures for the first half of 2011; print books (all 5 trade categories) combined to total $1,672.2M for the year (compared to $473.8M for e-books), which means that e-books accounted for a record 26.9% of all print/e-book sales for the month, and averaged 22.1% for the first half of 2011.

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E-Books Outselling Hardcovers in 2011

 Posted by at 2:52 PM  Tagged with: ,
Jul 222011
 

The May 2011 e-book sales stats bring with them the announcement that, so far in 2011, e-books are the #2 format, behind only adult trade paperbacks, and ahead of both adult hardcovers and adult mass-market paperbacks. E-book sales are up 160.1% since last year, while adult trade paperbacks (-17.9%), adult hardcovers (-23.4%), and adult mass market paperbacks (-30.1%) all suffered double-digit declines from 2010. Year to date 2011 totals (with YTD 2010 numbers in parenthesis) are:

  1. Adult trade paperback: $473.1 M (576.4 M)
  2. E-Books: $389.7 M ($149.8 M)
  3. Adult hardcover: $386.2 M ($504.1 M)
  4. Adult mass-market paperback: $185.1 M ($264.8 M)

While the Association of American Publishers didn’t break down monthly sales figures this month, subtracting out previous months’ totals gives me an estimate of $87.7 M for May 2011 e-book sales (just behind February’s $90.3 M record). Adult trade paperbacks were $96.5 M, adult hardcover $82.9 M, and adult mass-market $33.1 M. (Note that their YTD totals and prior months’ sales don’t usually add up exactly; I assume they update and adjust prior month totals without telling us. But this estimate should be close.)

May 2011 e-book sales: $87.7 M

Those figures are strong, putting e-books very near a pace to hit $1 billion in sales this year (which I predicted after seeing the February figures). For review, the past 13 months of e-book sales:

  • May 2010: $29.3 M
  • June 2010: $29.8 M
  • July 2010: $40.8 M
  • Aug 2010: $39.0 M
  • Sep 2010: $39.9 M
  • Oct 2010: $40.7 M
  • Nov 2010: $46.6 M
  • Dec 2010: $49.5 M
  • Jan 2011: $69.9 M
  • Feb 2011: $90.3 M
  • Mar 2011: $69.0M
  • Apr 2011: $72.8M
  • May 2011: $87.7 M

Very impressive that e-books have outsold both mass-market paperbacks and hardcovers over a 5-month period, industry-wide (Amazon announced several months ago that e-books had overtaken all print book sales through Amazon.com). In addition, these figures do not include independent author e-book sales (which are becoming more and more significant, with some indies selling over 1 million copies), and, by focusing on revenue, they understate the number of e-books sold when compared to print books that normally cost more per unit.

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April 2011 E-Book Sales Stats

 Posted by at 8:40 PM  Tagged with: ,
Jun 252011
 

April 2011 e-book sales came in at $72.8M, slightly up from March’s $69.0M, but well below February’s record $90.3M (past months’ data can be found here). This is up 165.7% from last April’s total of $27.4M.

April 2011 e-book sales: $72.8M

Prior months’ totals:

  • Apr 2010: $27.4 M
  • May 2010: $29.3 M
  • June 2010: $29.8 M
  • July 2010: $40.8 M
  • Aug 2010: $39.0 M
  • Sep 2010: $39.9 M
  • Oct 2010: $40.7 M
  • Nov 2010: $46.6 M
  • Dec 2010: $49.5 M
  • Jan 2011: $69.9 M
  • Feb 2011: $90.3 M
  • Mar 2011: $69.0M
  • Apr 2011: $72.8M

In comparison to print, e-books were the #3 trade book format this month (they topped all formats back in February), behind adult hardcover and trade paperback, but still well over double adult mass-market paperback. For print:

  • Adult hardcover: $111.4M
  • Adult trade paperback: $95.9M
  • Adult mass-market paperback: $28.5M
  • Young adult hardcover: $41.2M
  • Young adult trade paperback: $36.8M

In total, e-books accounted for 18.8% of all trade book + e-book sales, down from nearly 30% in February, but still a healthy percentage that is more than double last year’s average of 8.2%.

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10,000 Sales!

 Posted by at 9:31 PM  Tagged with:
Jun 062011
 

Please excuse my excitement as I share a personal milestone with you: I just sold the 10,000th copy of my novels.

I would like to sincerely thank each and every person who made one of those 10,000 purchases, along with everyone who has helped me edit the novels, or supported me along the way. And a special thank you to anyone who left an Amazon review, or told your friends about the books — without you, I never would have gotten to 10,000 sales.

For anyone who’d like to become the first of my next 10,000 readers, you can find excerpts, reviews, and information about my three novels here:

  • Right Ascension: a space opera, science fiction epic that combines action & adventure with the exploration of ethical dilemmas.
  • Declination: the sequel to Right Ascension.
  • The Twiller: a humorous, satirical romp across the Universe that just might remind you of some comical situations on our own planet.

Thank you again for the support, and happy reading!

March E-Book Sales Dip from All-Time Highs

 Posted by at 5:38 PM  Tagged with: ,
May 202011
 

Fresh off impressive all-time high sales of $90.3M in February (which made them the highest-grossing format, ahead of hardcovers and trade paperbacks), e-book sales settled down to a more reasonably robust $69.0M for March of 2011. That’s very close to January’s $69.9M. As compared to March 2010, the March 2011 numbers are an increase of 142%.

This puts overall Q1 2011 e-book sales at a record $229.2M, an increase of 157% from the same period a year earlier.

As explained by the Association of American Publishers, the large January sales and huge February sales were a result of post-Xmas e-book buying:

According to publishers, these figures are consistent with seasonal buying patterns; in particular, a return to print editions after the post-holiday period of buying, or “loading,” of e-Books into e-reader devices.

This is no surprise; a very similar pattern emerged last year (although with a more even Jan-Feb-Mar distribution, without the huge February spike):

  • Jan 2010: $31.9 M
  • Feb 2010: $28.9 M
  • Mar 2010: $28.5 M
  • Apr 2010: $27.4 M
  • May 2010: $29.3 M
  • June 2010: $29.8 M
  • July 2010: $40.8 M
  • Aug 2010: $39.0 M
  • Sep 2010: $39.9 M
  • Oct 2010: $40.7 M
  • Nov 2010: $46.6 M
  • Dec 2010: $49.5 M
  • Jan 2011: $69.9 M
  • Feb 2011: $90.3 M
  • Mar 2011: $69.0M

Print books made a comeback, totaling $96.6M for adult trade hardcover sales, $115.9M for trade paperbacks, and $55.2M for mass-market paperbacks. Print books have sales surges before Xmas, and then a slow period after Xmas when publishers don’t release any big blockbuster titles. Thus, January and February are simultaneously the strongest months for e-books and the weakest months for print books.

One other note on March’s decrease from February’s sales: just like sales dipped to their lowest point of the year last April, the first month that 5 of the “Big 6” publishers raised e-book prices under “agency model” pricing, March 1 marked the date when Random House joined ranks and embraced the agency model as well. Is it a coincidence that we saw another large dip in sales that month? Will March 2011 remain the lowest point for e-book sales in 2011? Probably a good bet. (We got a good hint that April numbers should be strong when Amazon announced that its e-book sales overtook all print sales combined in April.)

Looking forward, I’d expect sales to rebound slowly over the next few months, and they probably won’t top February’s breakout numbers until the second half of the year. By the end of 2011, we should see even more $99 e-readers, perhaps a rumored Amazon tablet, a rumored B&N Nook Classic 2, and e-book sales in the $100M per month and 20-25% market share ranges.

 e-books  Comments Off on March E-Book Sales Dip from All-Time Highs
May 192011
 

A few months after Amazon announced that its e-book sales overtook hardcover books, then paperback books, Amazon today announced that e-book sales on Amazon overtook all formats of print books combined — and that’s even excluding free Kindle e-books and including print books with no e-book counterparts.

From the Amazon press release:

  • Since April 1, for every 100 print books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 105 Kindle books. This includes sales of hardcover and paperback books by Amazon where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.
  • So far in 2011, the tremendous growth of Kindle book sales, combined with the continued growth in Amazon’s print book sales, have resulted in the fastest year-over-year growth rate for Amazon’s U.S. books business, in both units and dollars, in over 10 years. This includes books in all formats, print and digital. Free books are excluded in the calculation of growth rates.
  • In the five weeks since its introduction, Kindle with Special Offers for only $114 is already the bestselling member of the Kindle family in the U.S.
  • Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books so far in 2011 as it did during the same period in 2010.
  • Less than one year after introducing the UK Kindle Store, Amazon.co.uk is now selling more Kindle books than hardcover books, even as hardcover sales continue to grow. Since April 1, Amazon.co.uk customers are purchasing Kindle books over hardcover books at a rate of more than 2 to 1.

Pretty remarkable. Amazon is the world’s #1 bookseller, and is now selling more e-books than print books (5% more), and I’m sure the numbers will continue to shift even further in favor of e-books going forward. How long until Barnes & Noble releases a similar announcement? (We probably have a couple of years or so left for that one.)

Another interesting tidbit from the press release was the news that e-book sales in 2011 have tripled from 2010 numbers. The rate of e-book sales and market share increases shows no sign of slowing down.

Also of note: the $114 Kindle Wi-Fi with “Special Offers” (which I wrote about here) has overtaken the other Kindle versions to become the best-selling Kindle at Amazon. Perhaps not terribly surprising considering it is the least expensive version, but it does seem to show that a lot of people don’t mind ads on their Kindles and will accept them in exchange for a lower price ($25 off in this case).

(One last note: the Kindle store now stands at 950,000 e-books, closing fast on 1 million, which it should hit by July.)

Apr 162011
 

Well, that was fast.

This is big.

I’ve been writing monthly updates on industry e-book sales for a year now. Recently, I predicted that January 2011 e-book sales would overtake mass-market paperbacks. They did. But even I didn’t see this coming.

E-books, which have roughly doubled or tripled in sales each of the past several years, not only blew past mass-market paperback sales, not only passed adult hardcover sales, but have now overtaken adult trade paperback sales to become the largest single category of book sales in February. The numbers:

  1. E-Books: $90.3 M
  2. Adult Trade Paperbacks: $81.2 M
  3. Adult Hardcover: $46.2 M
  4. Mass-Market Paperbacks: $29.3 M

According to the release from the Association of American Publishers:

For February 2011, e-Books ranked as the #1 format among all categories of Trade publishing (Adult Hardcover, Adult Paperback, Adult Mass Market, Children’s/Young Adult Hardcover, Children’s/Young Adult Paperback).

Even including the children’s / young adult categories, printed books totaled $215.2 M for the month, giving e-books a staggering 29.56% share of total trade book sales. (Note: this total includes “trade” print books, but excludes educational, scholarly, and religious categories.)

E-Book sales, which accounted for about 8.2% of trade book sales in 2010, hit nearly 30% in February.

The trends are even worse for print, as e-book sales are up 202.3% (more than triple) from February of 2010, while adult trade categories are down a combined 34.4%.

A recap of the past 14 months of e-book sales:

  • Jan 2010: $31.9 M
  • Feb 2010: $28.9 M
  • Mar 2010: $28.5 M
  • Apr 2010: $27.4 M
  • May 2010: $29.3 M
  • June 2010: $29.8 M
  • July 2010: $40.8 M
  • Aug 2010: $39.0 M
  • Sep 2010: $39.9 M
  • Oct 2010: $40.7 M
  • Nov 2010: $46.6 M
  • Dec 2010: $49.5 M
  • Jan 2011: $69.9 M
  • Feb 2011: $90.3 M

It’s hard not to be blown away by these numbers. I expected e-book sales to increase, and predicted a nice bump after the 2010 holiday season (when millions of readers unwrapped Kindles and Nooks and Kobos and Sonys under their trees), but e-book sales for February are over triple what they were just 8 months prior, and nearly double what they were just two months before! February 2011 sales exceeded the (at the time very strong) post-holiday sales of the entire first quarter (Jan, Feb, Mar) of 2010. Amazing.

The two questions I have now are: (1) when will e-books get over 50% of trade book sales, and (2) will e-books stay on the pace from the first two months of the year and hit $1 billion in sales in 2011? (For the record, my predictions are: the first quarter of 2012, and yes.)

 e-books  Comments Off on February E-Book Sales Overtake Trade Paperbacks
Mar 192011
 

January 2011 e-book sales stats are in, and they are a whopping $69.9 million, easily shattering December’s then-record $49.5 M (exceeding it by 41.2%), and more than doubling the strong January 2010 post-holiday e-book sales (an increase of 115.8%).

Jan 2011 e-book sales: this is what "off the chart" looks like.

Here’s the monthly rundown:

  • Jan 2010: $31.9 M
  • Feb 2010: $28.9 M
  • Mar 2010: $28.5 M
  • Apr 2010: $27.4 M
  • May 2010: $29.3 M
  • June 2010: $29.8 M
  • July 2010: $40.8 M
  • Aug 2010: $39.0 M
  • Sep 2010: $39.9 M
  • Oct 2010: $40.7 M
  • Nov 2010: $46.6 M
  • Dec 2010: $49.5 M
  • Jan 2011: $69.9 M

Even more impressive, e-book sales not only surpassed, but thoroughly trounced both adult mass-market paperback sales ($39.0 M) and hardcover sales ($49.1 M) for the first time ever. I would say this is a shocker, except I predicted it in my post on last month’s sales stats report, where I predicted that e-book sales would overtake mass-market paperback sales in January. Even adult trade paperback sales are looking vulnerable, at $83.6 M (although they’re probably safe until next January). Also interesting: while e-books more than doubled from last January’s sales numbers, mass market paperbacks (-30.9%), trade paperbacks (-19.7%), and hardcovers (-11.3%) all suffered double-digit percentage point drops from last year. Ouch.

One other point: these sales figures come only from large publishers; independent authors aren’t counted in these figures. For a while, we could safely be ignored as a rounding error, but considering that two separate indie authors have now hit not only #2 in the overall Kindle store, but one has now hit the #1 spot (and indies control a fair portion of the Top 100), including those sales would skew the numbers even more heavily in favor of e-books.

Just to keep things in perspective, the figures above only cover the adult book category, meaning that children’s books and educational books aren’t included. Looking at the overall numbers, total print book, e-book, and audiobook sales in January were $805.7 M (down 1.9% from last January’s $821.5 M). That makes e-books about 8.7% of all book sales by dollar amount (with lower average sale prices, they’re surely a higher percentage by number of books sold).

Another interesting note: total adult print sales declined by $44.3 M from last year, while e-books made up most of the difference, increasing $38.0 M.

I expected a large increase after what I believed would be a very successful 2010 holiday season for e-reader sales. I think a lot of people got Kindles and Nooks in December and started really buying e-books in January (perhaps with Amazon gift cards they also got for Christmas). But this much of an increase was a surprise even to me. However, I would not be shocked to see sales in February (and perhaps the next few months) dip a bit from the January peak, perhaps settling in around $60 M for the next couple of months. But I believe the overall trend will continue to see e-book sales continue their rapid growth.

 e-books  Comments Off on January E-Book Sales Overtake MMP, Hardcover