December 2010 E-Book Sales: $49.5M

 Posted by at 5:22 PM  Tagged with: ,
Feb 172011

Dec 2010 e-book sales: $49.5M

As I predicted last month, December 2010 e-book sales set another record, at $49.5M for the month, up from a then-record $46.6M in November, and $18.7M in Dec 2009. Year-over-year, Dec 2010 sales are up 164.8% from Dec 2009 numbers.

Here is a rundown of the monthly totals:

  • 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

Q4, 2010 e-book sales: $136.8M

That puts the Q4 2010 total at a record $136.8M, up from $119.7M in Q3 2010 and $55.9M in Q4 2009. The 2010 year-end total is reported as $441.3M (which differs slightly from the $432.3M I get from summing the monthly totals, but maybe they include some extra sales figures that trickle in for their year-end calculation). Either way, it’s well above the 2009 year-end total of $166.9M, an increase of 164.4%, in fact.

Monthly e-book sales ($49.5M) haven’t quite caught mass market paperback sales ($57.1M) yet, but they’re getting ever closer as e-book sales increase dramatically and print book sales decline from 2009 levels. Mass market paperback sales were $60.2M in October 2010, and $673.5M for 2010 in total, a decrease of 6.3% from 2009 figures ($718.9M). Back in March 2010, I was amazed that e-book sales were 53% of mass-market paperback sales; in December, they were up to 86.7%. Considering how we saw a surge in e-book sales in January 2010 (after millions of people received Kindles in late December for Christmas) and a decline in print book sales (due to snow and poor winter weather), I’m still predicting e-book sales to catch or overtake mass market print sales as soon as January 2011 (which means it would have already happened, we just haven’t gotten the statistics to confirm or deny it yet). UPDATE: January results are in, with e-books easily overtaking MMP sales.

E-books continue to increase dramatically as a percentage of total book sales.

Looking at the overall picture, e-book sales constituted 3.2% of trade book sales in 2009, and that number nearly tripled, up to 8.32% in 2010. This number has more than doubled (and nearly tripled) for 3 years in a row. Of course, that kind of explosive growth can’t last forever, but what percentage of all book sales will e-books constitute in 2011? 15%? 20%? 25%? I wouldn’t bet on a number lower than 12-15%.

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