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.