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E-books Now Make Up 1/5 of U.S. Book Sales


First published on www.mashable.com

E-books are helping fuel overall growth in the publishing industry. According to BookStats figures released Wednesday by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), trade books generated $15 billion in revenue in 2012, up 6.9% from the year before. Trade publications include fiction and non-fiction books for adults, young adults and children, and do not include higher ed, K-12 and professional/scholarly volumes.

Approximately one in five books sold were e-books, which collectively accounted for $3 billion, or also about a fifth, of all trade publishing revenue, up 44.2% from 2011. That growth was fueled in part by a sharp increase in sales of children’s and young adult fiction, up 117% to $469 million. Adult fiction is still the dominate seller in the category however, accounting for $1.8 billion in revenue.

It turns out that e-books are not cannibalizing hardcover and trade paperback sales, as publishers’ once feared, though mass market paperbacks — which are often published much later than their hardback counterparts, and sold mostly in more traditional retail environments like drugstores — have been negatively impacted. Hardcover sales were up 1.3% to $5.1 billion, and paperbacks were up 0.4% to $4.9 billion. BookStats did not have figures to share about mass market paperback sales at time of publication.

Audiobooks also saw nice gains in 2012. Revenue was up 21.8% year-over-year to $241 million.

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