Book Sales Drop in 2009, but E-Books Explode
Total net book sales were reported to be $23.8 billion, down 1.8% from $24.9 billion in 2008 -- which itself was down 2.6% from the previous year. Overall sales of trade books -- the fiction and non-fiction books you know and love -- totaled $8.1 billion, a 1.8% drop from last year. However, adult hardcovers jumped 6.9% to $2.6 billion, helped in part by a little-known author named Dan Brown.
Trade paperbacks fared worse, falling 5.2% to $2.2 billion, and mass market paperbacks weren't so hot, dropping 4% to $1 billion. Sales in higher education rose 12.9% to $4.3 billion, but when K-12 sales were broken out, they declined 13.8%, to $5.2 billion.
E-books sales, however, were busting out all over. With month after month of exponential growth, it should surprise few that total 2009 sales were approximately $313 million, up 176.6% from 2008. And already in 2010, that growth curve is shooting up even more, as January sales alone were $31.9 million -- 10% of 2009's total, and a much higher proportion than the 3% to 4% of total book sales last year.
When the AAP reports February book sales later in April, expect to see those e-book numbers climb higher. But the real growth fun will likely begin this summer, once we have a fuller picture of the e-book sales impact caused by the iPad (AAPL).