Summary:

Early indications show a big hike in ebook sales, a glut of new iPad owners and a transformative effect for one game studio — it’s another Christmas in which new device gifts give an uplift to content sales.

Money in Christmas stocking
photo: Shutterstock / Maria Dryfhout

This holiday season appears to have created the conditions for another uplift in the digital content market.

Ebook spike

In ebooks, one publisher, Hachette UK, saw 86 percent more global ebooks sales this Christmas Day and Boxing Day than in 2011.

NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight_AngledThe publisher’s digital head George Walkley tells The Bookseller higher ereader and tablet sales, price promotion and greater digital availability lifted the market, including the long tail: “This is not just a frontlist phenomenon as over 6,500 of our titles saw digital sales in the last two days.”

The growth coincides with new Pew Internet data showing the proportion of Americans who read ebooks to increased 23 percent in 2012, from 16 percent a year ago.

Some independent authors using Kindle Direct Publishing reported far more modest upticks to their already small-scale sales. Their titles are relatively unknown and don’t benefit from bigger-hitting marketing campaigns of the kind that catch new ereader owners’ attention.

Publishers had awaited Christmas with different expectations. Random House COO Madeleine McIntosh told The New York Times: “In the first years (of ebooks), people were getting just e-readers. This year they will be getting multi-functional tablets. You can put a lot of other media besides ebooks on these, and that may somewhat diminish the ultimate focus on ebooks.”

iOS wins?

When it comes to those multi-function devices, Apple’s appear to have won this season. A cursory examination of first tweets sent on Christmas Eve showed the iPad with a 7x greater prevalence than the nearest rival, Amazon’s Kindle Fire…

Game spike

What were people using their new devices for? Some apps have seen Christmas uplifts, too. Temple Run, a game that was previously ranked No. 20 on App Store, leaped to lead the store’s free and top-grossing charts, BGR reports.

Mobile data outfit Flurry reports a threefold hike in numbers of new tablets and smartphones activated on Christmas Day, which this year also smashed previous seasonal activation records.

App downloads grew by more than double compared with previous Christmases, Flurry found.

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