New Data, Same Slow Ebook Market

AAP Association of American Publishers StatShot ebook salesEbooks grew modestly in 2014, a year that saw a 4.6% uptick in revenue overall, according to new full-year figures from the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

But while the nearly 1,800 U.S. publishers who participated in the AAP’s latest survey say their ebook sales rose 3.8% on balance last year, the bigger story remains one of mostly flat growth for the format since 2012.

Called StatShot Annual, the program differs in a few key respects from the AAP’s monthly StatShot reports—for one thing, by including data on subscription platforms. While the subscription market remains small, digital audio titles appear to be beating out ebooks on the leading platforms.

The new data add another useful lens for understanding the broader picture, but it still bears repeating that that view remains sharply limited.

Much more.

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Apple Back in the Regulatory Spotlight (WSJ)
Apple can’t catch a break. But as state authorities in New York and Connecticut see it, that might be because the tech company has violated antitrust laws in its music streaming business. The attorneys general launching investigations into the matter are the same two who were involved in Apple’s antitrust case over ebook prices in 2013.

Self-Publishing’s Mainstreaming Continues (Pub Perspectives)
New figures from Nielsen show self-published titles capturing a solid 5% of the UK book market, a share that jumps to 15% in ebooks. As indie publishing continues to grow, one leader at Nielsen UK says many familiar of the distinctions between the traditional and self-published spheres are steadily collapsing, something earlier research has also hinted at.
Related: Reexamining Authors’ Paths to Publication

Got a Book Idea? Tweet It (DBW)
Inkshares, a crowdsourced publishing start-up, adds a feature allowing users to tweet their ideas for books, which can then be followed by interested would-be readers in the hope that authors will begin working on titles that potentially look the most popular.

Mapping the Children’s Market (DBW)
The jury remains out on many of the most fundamental questions about the future of digital children’s content: Are digital natives all that different from their parents when it comes to reading habits? If so, how? If not, why not? And where does that leave publishers? Weigh in here.

Amazon Offers Indian Merchants More Global Reach (Times of India)
The company launches a “Global Selling” program that builds on services it offers merchants who sell goods through Amazon and is aimed at helping expand the global customer base for those products.

Gender Imbalances Plague Academic Sector, Too (The Scholarly Kitchen)
As conversations continue around gender diversity issues among trade publishers, those in the world of academic publishing say they face a similar problem. One executive in the space advocates for a series of ongoing efforts rather than trying to “make a grand gesture and be done with it.”

Elsevier Fights on against Ebook Pirates (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
The publisher files a lawsuit against several websites and search engines it believes to be facilitating the illegal distribution of copyrighted material. Not only is Elsevier hoping to shut those sites down, it’s also seeking damages.

Yet More Experiments in Enhanced Ebooks (Digital Journal—Press Release)
One author claims to have blurred the line between film and ebook by publishing a title that’s enhanced with professionally shot footage representing scenes in the novel. It’s doubtful the project has invented a new, hybrid form altogether, but we’ll let you be the judge.

Library of Congress Head Departs amid Concerns (NYT)
James H. Billington, who turned 86 earlier this month, will step down at Librarian of Congress after 28 years in that role. Recently the Library of Congress was faulted by government reports alleging significant technological and other shortcomings and a failure of the institution’s leadership to address them.


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