Ebooks made up 20% of the U.S. consumer book industry in 2012, up from 15% in 2011

Books and e-reader ebooks e-reader

Ebooks are now a relatively stable force in the U.S. trade book publishing industry, making up 20 percent of the trade (consumer) book industry in 2012. BookStats, an annual report from the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group, finds that consumer ebooks netted publishers $3.042 billion in revenue in 2012, up 44 percent over 2011. BookStats calculates the entire U.S. trade book industry at $15.049 billion, up 6.9 percent from 2011.

Some other findings from the report, whose topline figures were released Wednesday:

  • Adult fiction is the largest driver of ebook growth, but adult nonfiction and children’s/young adult titles also grew over 2011:
  • Sales of hardcovers and trade paperbacks remained steady in 2012, but the mass market paperback continued its decline. This format is particularly affected by competition from ebooks, BookStats says, because ebooks are released at the same time as hardcovers while mass market paperbacks are released later.
  • Online retail continues to grow as a sales channel, though BookStats cautions that, because its statistics reflect publishers’ net revenues from sales channels and not retailers’ revenue from consumers, these figures can’t serve as a completely accurate picture of the retail market.
  • The total U.S. book market — including educational and professional/scholarly publishing — was $27.12 billion in 2012, BookStats estimates, down 0.9 percent from 2011.

Notes: BookStats is published jointly by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group. (In the past, the groups conducted separate annual surveys.) The report incorporates net sales revenue and unit data reported by nearly 2,000 U.S. publishers. It also estimates the size of the entire industry.

The charts illustrating this post were created by me, not by BookStats.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock / Borys Shevchuk

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