Saturday, August 25, 2012

I haven't posted for a bit as the AAP ebook sales are convoluted, at best.

I also speculate we have an Indie author breakout happening in 2012.  Not any one author, but a large number of indie authors finding their audience <a href=" ">such as this smashwords expample.</a>

The overall all trend is growth again in ebook sales, but not as strong for the AAP authors as 2011.  The first question is has growth really slowed that much (to just over 1/3rd growth for March 2012 vs. March 2011)?  I doubt it.  What is on your Kindle/Nook/Android/iGadget?  

<a href=" ">Smashwords also brags</a> about their authors finally hitting the NYTimes best seller list. 

It is too early for ebook sales growth to slow this quickly.  That would imply ebooks only make it to about half of the book market.  Instead, I  believe we have new authors finding new audiences.  Heck, about half of my reading (perhaps 1/3rd of my spending) in 2012 has been on new indie authors.

I remain excited about ebooks.  However, they are going from technology to appliance.  In other words, while a new item in the household, we take them for granted rather than gawking at the wonder.

Got Popcorn?

Someone get the AAP to publish their other numbers clearer.  Its pretty obvious items are in decline.  I do wish Amazon had to publish numbers... that would be interesting!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Where is the AAP book sales data?

If I take the bits and pieces of AAP book sales data out there, I calculate -$178.57 million in sales for adult books.  Yes, a negative number.

One Snipet  (note, I do not have a paid, any links to further numbers appreciated)

Midiabistro has a children's sale tidbit

The numbers have never been more convoluted than before.  One doesn't hide great numbers.  I'm sad print is dropping.  I'd really like to know more on how mass market paperback is doing; for I fear it might disappear earlier than my mid-2014 prediction.  :(

Got Popcorn?

Monday, April 23, 2012

More plots Jan 2012 Ebook sales

While waiting for the AAP February book sales data, I thought I would show two more graphs that show just how strongly ebooks are doing.   The two graphs have the same data, but by visually plotting them differently, it emphasizes two different aspects of the data.

Graph #1 is a bar graph that shows by within Month ebook growth.  The ramp up in January ebook sales is impressive.  We saw more impressive year over year growth in a month later in 2011... So I wonder how impressive February will be?

February, May, July, August, October, and December are the strongest months for 2011 ebook sales.  We could see February sales 25% to 30% higher than January ebook sales!  But also note there is some variability that I speculate that is 'weather induced.'  So let's not get stuck up on individual month comparisons.

The January spike is despite $14.99+ ebook prices attempting to favor hardcover sales.   Imagine the potential for ebook growth if publishers weren't throwing the format under the bus.

The second graph plots each year by color.  The main point of this graph is to show the steady growth in ebook sales over the years.  The market is not yet a mature market.  There is no ambiguity about each year being at a level above the prior year.  Not since 2009.   At some point the market will mature and we'll see a month have the same sales or lower than a prior year.  At that point authors will have to look for growth in the UK, Germany, Spain, India, etc.  

Side discussion:  It looks like the April 2011 Kindle store opening in Germany has put that market at roughly half way between 2009 and 2010 ebook penetration in 2011.  In other words the German market seems to be about 18 months behind the maturity of the US market.   It looks like that market is poised to take off.  I suspect the German fixed price book market will slow ereader adoption until readers discover indie authors. Sometime in the next two years we'll see a nice chunk of customers enter the market.  As well as customers from other regions ebook readers enter.

Got Popcorn?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ebook growth vs. predictions

Exponential charts are tricky.  They can be used to minimize fast growth when it is quantitatively fast, just slow percentage YOY growth.  That is the state we're in now.  With ebooks at 27% market share (probably far better as that is comparing retail print versus wholesale ebooks), one would expect slower growth as order of magnitude would have ebooks at over 90% market share in no time.  

Notice how fast the ebook growth was proportionately in 2009 and 2010?  The market went from nothing to a significant market.  In 2011, the publishers in the AAP's efforts to preserve print book growth worked until the holiday 2011 ereaders hit customer hands.  Notice on the 2nd graph that sales are still accelerating faster than the 2010 liner trend line.  So even if the exponential chart looks somewhat flat, it is still healthy growth.  

Compare to the above trendline/prediction.  Ebooks are slightly above the curve.  My 50% market share prediction by 1/31/2013 might not be off by much. :)

Note:  I still expect print books to hold on.  There is a nostalgia with books.   However, the economies of scale of print are starting to fall.  In particular with MMPB. 

Got Popcorn?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

January 2012 E-book sales

The data from the AAP is becoming more and more obscure.

 What we know: 1. Ebook sales are up. Substantially for the AAP reporting authors.
2. Ebook sales are continuing to accelerate.
 3. Print share of the book market did ok.

There was a HUGE change in how print data was collected. All indications are that the new methodology artificially grew print versus ebooks.

 Notice that e-books are now 31% of adult sales for the AAP! JA Konrath has pointed about that print would become a subsidiary right. It looks like that will be the case in 2013!

 I was worried that ebooks were slowing growth. This data clearly shows I shouldn't have thought twice about the form factor. I thank Mediabistro for having the data once again. Just two charts this month due to the obscured data. But they tell a clear story:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Self Publisher market share check up

My current prediction is that self published authors are at 30% market share for December 2011 (the latest there is data). This is baed off a straight line approximation from a mere two data points: 1. December 2009, I found a link (not finding it right now) where 'Boutique authors' were 10% of the market. 2. I scanned the Amazon lists in December 2010 and estimated indie authors were 20% to 33.3% of the ebook market. I took the 20% number. By definition, that is 10% growth per year (if its linear). So lets see, is there any information out there? One British link puts it 'as much as 25%.' (Note: By number of books) So testing my hypothesis: 1. The UK Amazon store is 'younger' than the US store, So Indie author penetration should be about 18 months to two years behind the US. 2. One year is 10% market share (by dollars)... So this implies the US market is about 45% Indie market share (by books)! Now the problem is, my numbers are by dollars. Since big6 books sell at higher prices, we could very well be at 30% Indie author market share (by dollars). So my admittedly simple estimate looks to be on track. The question is, what is the breaking point point? When is Indie ebooks such a large fraction of the market that the big6 loose 'economy of scale?' I doubt for a few years. Is it any wonder they make tons of noise about Amazon? Got Popcorn? Neil

Saturday, March 10, 2012

2011 Ebook Sales Summary

Ok, I've been a bit tardy in my posts. But now that December book sales are out (in their normal obscure form), we can look back in graphical form at all the changes in the industry. There is one flaw in the data; as I peruse the charts one thing screams out; all indications are there are sales not being reported. In other words, I suspect indie ebook sales are a faster growing section of the book market. How I pine for Amazon figures... To the graphs. The first observation is that AAP ebook sales have flat-lined. They are going neither up nor down for the publishers (the few that report). Does this pass a test on empirical observations on the growth of the market? Nope. I travel for work and I meet too many individuals who recently purchased a Kindle. This implies the ebook market is shifting away from the reporting AAP publishers... Good for Indie authors! :)
I've often plotted e-book growth on a year over year basis to help show the growth. Since this is AAP data, could it be that they've priced their ebooks above the volume of the market?
Ebook sales are flat for the AAP. Have enough readers discovered indie authors?
Overall trade paper is overall weak, but not horrid for December. But recall, overall it was a weak year. Note, the AAP lumps religion (all formats) and ebooks as part of trade. I specifically break out paper sales.
Hardcover is overall doing ok. But wait for the seasonal graph... It was a weak year overall.
Paperback seems to have returned to a normal year post the mid-year Borders related trama to this format's sales. This is a pleasant surprise!
Overall children's book sales have held up. This has to warm and readers heart. I personally expected iPad apps to have cut more into this category. Overall I'm happy to see these results.
MMPB continues along the same trend-line to its death. We are within 30 months of the end of the format. :( This has me sad as once this was once what I read more of than anything else. But then again, every mmpb reader that I know has an ereader (or two, if one counts tablets). Perhaps the format will survive at airports and drugstores in the spinning racks? Seasonal Graphs Time to look at how each format is selling seasonally. I don not like comparing to just one month as often sales shift from a month to another as downstream customer buying patterns change. I like using bar charts when there is fast growth. Thus, the only format worth plotting in bar chart form is ebooks. E-books have not shown the mid to late year growth of prior years for AAP ebooks despite showing tremendous year over year growth. I wonder if enough authors have defected to self-publishing? (I can only speculate.) It seems like every author I buy has self-published or will as soon as they can put their 'ducks in a row.'
Since I've already commented on other seasonal graphs, I'll end typing here and just note that the ebook revolution did another leg up in 2011. While growth was faster than 2010, it seems to be slowing for the AAP. There are two possible conclusions from this: 1) Ebooks are approaching the half way point for adoption (unlikely this early) or 2) Self-published ebooks have grown far faster than I have predicted.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

October 2011 e-book sales

October is the best month to sell print books. It used to be September, but computerization has pushed even an 'old school' industry like print to a more 'just in time' inventory system. (Good! Fewer returns will help save the industry.) So it shouldn't be a surprise that ebooks lost market share despite a small sales growth.

Sales of trade books were good in October. I speculate this is partially due to the 'Borders surplus stock' having worked its way through the channels. I submit that the recovery of adult paperback and children's books, two categories Borders was strong in, are compelling reasons to believe we are just now past the industry disruption of the Boarders close down.

Do note that data is intentionally being obscured. I had to back out these numbers, so there is more uncertainty in this month's data than prior posts.

Enough discussion, onto the graphs. Notice how ebook sales continue to climb?

Notice how October is usually the best selling month for paper-trade books (next image). Overall, trade (paper) had a good month.

It was not a good month for hardcover sales. The lack of a strong peak in Hardcover is one reason I speculate *some* of the strength this month was restocking post Borders liquidation. If there was an overall return to paper, we would have seen stronger recovery in Hardcovers. However, there is a good chance that 'just in time' ordering is putting this format out a month in the purchase cycle.

The dwindling of my (previous) favorite paper format, mass market paperback now has a definitive trend. A trend that shows the format will be out of production after 2014. :( I've been writing for a while how this genre requires a recovery to sustain 'economy of scale.' Its now almost too late. I expect MMPB to fold back into paperback for some publishers soon.

Borders once dominated paperback sales. I believe the absolutely spectacular spike in paperbacks can only be explained by a 'springback effect' post Borders liquidation. I'm happy to see it!

Childrens books had a nice spike too (for a non-Harry Potter year). I speculate this isn't just Borders. I speculate that Netflix and music subscriptions are 'taking away' gifting opportunities for relatives who wish to buy physical gifts. I speculate relatives are going back to gifting books. Any thoughts?

Seasonal Graphs

Due to the sheer amount of mis-information and obscurity on book/ebook sales, I like to plot seasonal graphs to show how the market is changing.

I start with a bar graph on ebooks. This shows how incredibly fast the year on year (YOY) growth has been for ebooks. :) It also shows how analogous the sales pattern in 2011 was to 2010. I now believe 2013 will be the last year with over doubling of ebook sales. Note: I'm not saying the market won't keep growing. Technology growth tends to slow once half the potential market has converted to the technology. That half way point for ebooks will happen in 2012, but the slowing of the growth shouldn't be obvious until 2014.

The initial buying of Hardcovers pre-Holiday sales are weak but not horrid. I've heard rumors that hardcover buying was delayed this year. Since that is a more businesslike way to stock inventory... I could believe it. Oh, I'm skeptical, but we could see a further compression of the book season.

The paperback spike looks less impressive when plotted versus prior years. See the June deficit? It is possible the October spike is just restocking shelves post Borders liquidation. :(

Since the trend down in MMPB crossed the 2010/2011 year boundary, the doom of MMPB is less obvious when plotted this way, but the decline is still obvious. Hence why plotting data different ways to see trends is important.

The spike up in Children's sales is greater than the post-Borders deficit! Hence my theory relatives are shifting gift buying back to books. :)

I've been calculating the trend and comparing with year ago sales. I created this bar chart to emphasize change. The most interesting tidbit is plotting this way we continue to see 2nd half 2011 ebook sales grew at a slower rate than the 1st half. However, the growth was still strong.

All the graphs show a (one month) recovery of print sales (excluding MMPB). They also show ebooks are strong. I speculate the next big splash will be November post the K4 deliveries. It will be very interesting to see the January sales data (which won't be released for about 3 months). I expect to see another start of year spike.

Got Popcorn?