New e-reader owners are apparently very busy buying e-books: The Association of American Publishers says that in January sales of e-books grew 115 percent to $69.9 million in the U.S. To put that figure in perspective, total adult hardcover sales during the period dropped 11.3 percent to $49.1 million, while adult mass market paperback sales tumbled 30.9 percent to $39 million. Adult paperback sales were down 19.7 percent to $83.6 million, making it conceivable that e-book sales will very soon surpass that category as well.
The rise is particularly remarkable because, despite the triple-digit growth of e-books sales in 2010, sales of adult hardcovers, adult paperbacks, and mass market paperbacks had continued to top those of e-books by a large margin. Amazon.com (NSDQ: AMZN) did say over the summer, however, that sales of e-books for its Kindle had surpassed those of hardcovers on its site by a large margin and, in January, said that Kindle e-book sales had exceeded those of paperbacks as well.
Overall, e-books accounted for 8.67 percent of total book sales during the month. The larger category includes books for higher education, children’s/young adult books, audio books, religious books, and professional books. (Via Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim)