One of the surest signs that the iPad and e-readers are here to stay is the explosion in sales of digital books. The February 2011 report of the Association of American Publishers was released today, and revealed that e-books have grown over 200% since the same time last year. This growth is so significant that e-books are now the number one format across all categories of trade publishing.
The post-holiday period is considered to be a hot time for downloading e-books because of the number of buyers who received a tablet or an e-reader for Christmas and are picking new titles to fill it up. While the numbers for e-books keep rising, those for print are falling. For the period of January/February 2010 to January/February 2011, e-books grew 169.4% to a total of $164.1M, while print books fell 24.8% to $441.7M.
President and Chief Executive Officer of AAP, Tom Allen gave this opinion: “The February results reflect two core facts: people love books and publishers actively serve readers wherever they are. The public is embracing the breadth and variety of reading choices available to them. They have made e-Books permanent additions to their lifestyle while maintaining interest in print format books.”
While this trend is certain to be lamented by the hidebound lovers of print books, the rise of the e-book has people reading, and that’s always a good thing. Especially if the gift of an iPad or a Kindle can get children into reading when a print book doesn’t. Even regular readers of books are enjoying the convenience of having a whole library at their fingertips, ready to be carried to the beach or on a plane. The digital book market is still new, but it’s alive and growing.