There is endless speculation on the subject of ebooks vs. paper books. The request for electronic books has definitely increased in the last two years, what with the release of massive numbers of ebook readers and tablets. In response to the numerous and diverse models of devices released by tech giants such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and small companies alike, digital publishing companies considerably boosted their production numbers.
With the beginning of 2012, the Association of American Publishers has decided to release a monthly snapshot of the evolution of the digital ebook and paper book production in the form of AAP Monthly Statshot. The company tried to develop statistics before, but in the past only 65-90 publishers would willingly convey information to the AAP. Currently, almost 1,200 publishing houses decided to join in to share sales and data, and the resulting stats are now relevant for the entire American publishing business.
The great news is that not only digital books have increased in numbers; it seems that the across-the-board percentage increases are an overall movement, both to ebook and paperbacks. The reason is thought to be the general economic improvement, particularly visible during the holiday season. Furthermore, this period brought to light several successful new titles released by publishers for both youth and adult markets.
The following information represents the AAP Monthly Statshot for January 2012, versus January 2011, the first relevant numbers that are finally presented to the public, containing data from a wide array of publishing houses all across the United States.
Hardcover: $69.8M in January 2012; $57.4M in January 2011; +21.6% increase
Trade Paperbacks: $105.1M in Jan 2012; $99.1M in Jan 2011; +6.1% increase
Mass Market Paperbacks: $30.4M in Jan 2012; $39.3M in Jan 2011; -22.5% decrease
eBooks: $99.5M in Jan 2012; $66.6M in Jan 2011; +49.4% increase
Downloaded Audiobooks $8.4M in Jan 2012; $6.5M in Jan 2011; +29.4% increase
Hardcover: $57.4M in Jan 2012; $34.0M in Jan 2011; +68.9% increase
Paperbacks: $38.0M in Jan 2012; $23.5M in Jan 2011; +61.9% increase
eBooks: (new AAP category) $22.6M in Jan 2012; $3.9M in Jan 2011; +475.1% increase
Religious (new AAP categories)
Hardcover: $39.6M in Jan 2012; $38.4M in Jan 2011; +2.9% increase
Paperbacks: $5.3M in Jan 2012; $5.9M in Jan 2011; -10.3% decrease
eBooks: $6.7M in Jan 2012; $2.7M in Jan 2011; +150.7M increase
Total Overall: $503.5M in Jan 2012; $396.0M in Jan 2011; +27.1% increase
Total Adult Trade: $323.0M in Jan 2012; $277.4M in Jan 2011; +16.4% increase
Total Children/YA: $128.2M in Jan 2012; $71.0M in Jan 2011; +80.5% increase
Total Religious: $52.4M in Jan 2012; $47.7M in Jan 2011; +9.9%
The overall conclusion is that people have started to read more and to be more interested in the area. It’s possible that the ebook readers have simply awoken the reader spirit of the American nation, and now the results are visible in the publishing industry, both digital and paperback. Among the other impacts the ebook readers had on people, this consequence is definitely positive in raising the reading awareness in America and the world.