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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ebook Growth Down in 2012 - What Does It Mean for Publishing? - Inside the Numbers

Do you know what the hell
is going on with ebooks?
The Association of American Publishers (AAP), who has been tracking ebooks since 2002, reported the dip in 2012 ebook growth. Growth in 2012 fell to 41% --- You don’t say? Well damn, whoopee do, what’s the big deal?

The big deal is ebook growth for the past three years has been in the triple digits!

Now, a 41% growth in any other industry would be astronomical--- but, not in ebooks with three years of sustained triple digit jumps. So, what does this mean for the publishing industry as a whole?

An interesting question with some even more interesting forecasts and analytical numbers --- which tonight’s post will get into with this insight from Jeremy Greenfield reported in Forbes:

Ebook Growth Slows in 2012 to ‘Only’ 41%; What Does It Mean for the Publishing Industry?

According to the latest numbers from the Association of American Publishers,revenue for ebooks for some of the biggest categories grew by 41% in 2012. Ebooks now account for 23% of trade publishing revenues.
In any other industry for any other business, this would be eye-popping growth. For the world of ebooks, it represents a significant slowdown from years past.
The AAP has been tracking ebooks since 2002. That year, ebooks represented 0.05% of all trade publishing revenues. To get to the current 23% number, the biggest gains were made in 2009, 2010 and 2011, the years immediately following the 2007 launch of the Kindle. In 2008, ebooks were 1% of publisher revenue. In 2011, they were 17%. Those were the years of triple-digit growth numbers, a trend publishers thought would continue until ebooks were at 50% of revenue or more.
But in 2012, according to these new numbers, growth in ebooks has hit an inflection point in the U.S. Of course, that’s on a larger base. Adult fiction and nonfiction, children’s and young adult and religious ebooks raked in more than $1.5 billion in revenue last year. That number is sure to increase in 2013, but by how much?
The growth rate of ebooks between 2011 and 2010 was a bit over 100%. If the growth rate in 2013 is similarly cut down to size as it was in 2012, my guess is that it will be in the 18% to 20% range*. If that happens, we’ll be looking at a $1.8 billion industry next year.
Regardless of how much ebooks grow this year, the fact is they probably will grow, but slower than last year. So, what does that mean for the publishing industry?

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