By Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Chief Executive Optimist, Digital Book World
“Book sales tracked by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) for the month of March increased by 16.6 percent at $458.2 million and were up by 8.0 percent for the year…
E-book sales jumped up 184.8 percent for the month ($28.5 million), reflecting an increase of 251.9 percent for the year.”
The Association of American Publishers has closed the book on the first quarter of 2010, with both overall book sales and eBook sales showing year-over-year increases of +8% and +251.9%, respectively.
- Overall Trade Book Sales, Q1 2010: $1.76 Billion
- Adult Paperback Sales, Q1 2010: $332.7 Million
- Adult Hardcover Sales, Q1 2010: $228.1 Million
- Adult Mass Market Sales, Q1 2010: $159.4 Million
- Overall eBook Sales, Q1 2010: $89.3 Million
- Audiobooks Sales, Q1 2010: $31.6 Million
eBook sales “soared to $31.9 million” in January — presumably spurred by Amazon’s claims of “record-breaking” Kindle sales in December, and “more Kindle books than physical books” being purchased on Christmas Day — but they declined slightly in February and March, with estimated sales of $28.9 million and $28.5 million.
By comparison, Adult Paperback sales ($103.2m, $106.3m, $123.2m) had monthly increases and are up +23.5% over last year, and Adult Mass Market sales ($56m, $49.8m, $53.6m) saw monthly fluctuations and are down -6.6% vs. last year.
While the usual focus has been on eBook sales’ exponential (and unsustainable) year-over-year growth, the second quarter of 2010 will offer a new benchmark to watch as the effects of Apple’s claim of 1.5 million eBook downloads via iBooks will finally move beyond speculation and spin and into [still somewhat speculative] measurable data.
A few questions that will hopefully be answered this time next month include:
- How much of the decline in February and March was attributable to Macmillan’s (and others) eBooks being removed from Amazon during their dustup at the end of January over eBook pricing and the move to the “agency model”?
- Will April sales spike upwards thanks to iBooks and/or the iPad’s relatively open platform that allows Amazon, Kobo and others to play along?
- Will the Nook have any impact at all, and if so, will anyone acknowledge it?
Of course, the $100,000 Question is will any publishers come forward with hard data on their eBook sales to confirm any of the answers that are offered to the above questions?