Thursday, September 29, 2016

Interesting Trends about Book Sales from The Association of American Publishers via @AmericanPublish #94

Sales of eBooks are in decline according to recent data published by The Association of American Publishers (AAP) for March 2016 - down 21.8% year-over-year. Hardback book sales also declined (by 8.5%), while paperbacks grew by 6.1%. What's interesting is the audio book sales increased by a huge 35.3% over the same period. Does this represent a shift from reading to listening?

Certainly I would have expected eBook sales to be increasing rather than decreasing - especially given that they tend to be a lot cheaper than paper versions and that they are easy to read on Kindles. But as I wrote in blog post #128, "Sales of ebooks are not rising fast enough to match the decline of printed textbooks", so there seems to be a trend of decline in ebook sales that has publishers worried. However, it could be now that audio books sales can compensate instead. 

Image source: Jackie Lea Sommers.
Blogger and author Jackie Lea Sommers puts it nicely when she writes why she thinks that audiobooks are sometimes better: "Audiobooks have been a huge blessing in my life; they entertain me on long car rides, distract me from my OCD, help me fall asleep at night, and make mundane things (like driving, cleaning, etc.) worthwhile because I’m engaging my mind". She, like others, prefers audio version to paper. 

Last year I listened to the incredibly popular Serial Podcast series about the conviction of Adnan Syed for the murder of Hae Min Lee. Essentially it was like an audio book, except it is not published as a book. I have never bought or listened to a real audio book, but I think I'll give it a try. 

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