The trend of more moderate growth for ebooks in the U.S. in 2012 abated slightly in Oct. as sales of adult trade ebooks were up 41% versus the same period last year — more than the 30.7% growth ebooks showed in Sept. It’s still much less than the triple-digit sales growth seen in ebooks in previous years. Growth in children’s ebooks continued to moderate to a 42.4% growth rate in the month, retreating from early-year triple-digit gains.
Despite the slowdown to what is still breakneck growth, sales for children’s ebooks are still up 160% for the year through the first three quarters, according to the latest numbers from the Association of American Publishers. Children’s ebook revenues are up to $198.2 million for the year, comprising nearly 12% of all sales. On the adult side, ebooks are up 36% for the year to $1.06 billion, comprising nearly 20% of all sales.
Children’s ebooks may have turned a corner in 2012, especially given a strong Jan. where children’s ebooks grew by 475.1% and Feb. where the segment grew by 177.8%. The slowdown to sub-50% growth is still a very good sign for children’s publishers. Dec. and Jan. will be interesting months to watch, as new survey data suggest that parents spent a lot of money buying new devices and digital content for their children this holiday season.
Growth in religious ebooks saw a significant slowdown to 9.4% for the month following many other months with double-digit growth. At $48.3 million, religious ebooks are still 22.9% above where they were last year.
In 2012, the AAP expanded the number of publishers queried to nearly 1,200 versus about 90 in 2011. The report now also includes additional categories, like children/young adult. The 2011 numbers have been backwards-engineered to include the expanded data set.
Related: Sept. Ebook Growth Numbers