Ebook Growth Slows for Adult Trade to 21% in Nov.

tablet bookSales of adult trade ebooks continued to slow in Nov. 2012, according to new numbers from the Association of American Publishers.

Ebook sales were up 20.7% in Nov. 2012 for adult trade books versus Nov. 2011. This is down from Oct., where ebook sales grew 41%, and from Sept., when they grew 30.7%. While ebooks still continue to grow at an incredible speed in the U.S. market, it’s at a much slower pace than in previous years when the business typically doubled and tripled. Growth in children’s ebooks continued to moderate at 53.2% growth for the month, retreating from early-year triple-digit gains.

Despite the slowdown, sales for children’s ebooks are still  up 141% for the year. Children’s ebook revenues are up to $222.3 million for the year, comprising nearly 12% of all sales. On the adult side, ebooks are up 36% for the year to $1.15 billion, comprising nearly 20% of all sales.

Children’s ebooks may have turned a corner in 2012, especially given a strong Jan. where the category grew by 475.1% and Feb. where it grew by 177.8%. The slowdown to double-digit growth is still a very good sign for children’s publishers. Dec. 2012 and Jan. 2013 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 ticked up to 16% month-over-month after a significant slowdown to 9.4% in Oct. At $53.4 million, religious ebooks are still 23% 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: Oct. Ebook Growth Numbers


2 thoughts on “Ebook Growth Slows for Adult Trade to 21% in Nov.

  1. Pingback: Ebook Growth Slows for Adult Trade to 21% in Nov. - Digital Book World - Livros

  2. Raj

    Hi Jeremy,

    Is this data available somewhere, and is it broken out by genre? It would be interesting to see how much the higher growth rates earlier in 2012 may have been helped by 50 Shades of Grey (and perhaps Hunger Games).

    I also wonder if the shift toward tablets vs. e-readers has had an effect… Intuitively, people may not load up on e-books immediately after buying a tablet the way they do with e-readers, since the functionality allows greater consumption of other media (like this blog!) and they may not buying specifically to read e-books. If true, then tablets may facilitate some crowding out of e-books from other electronic media, but they may still hurt print books just as much as e-readers. I wonder if anyone has studied this issue in particular (i.e., whether tablet owners still buy as many print books).

    The counter-argument to this is that people are now settling into the book format of their choice, which implies that print books will see a more gradual decline than perhaps was expected before.

    Appreciate your insights.




Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *