The Bad News About E-books
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
By Jim Milliot (for Publishers Weekly) --
In a keynote address delivered at the opening of last week’s Digital Book World conference in New York City, Jonathan Stolper, senior v-p and global managing director for Nielsen Book, presented a series of charts that provided a detailed look at the steadily declining unit sales of e-books. The figures are based on e-book sales reports from more than 30 traditional publishers through the first nine months of 2016, with Nielsen estimating sales for the final quarter of the year.
Based on those estimates, Nielsen found that e-book unit sales from reporting publishers were down 16% in 2016 from 2015. Units fell the most in the juvenile fiction segment, where e-book sales dropped 28% in the year and accounted for 10% of total category unit sales in 2016, down from 14%. (E-books have never been a big factor in juvenile nonfiction and accounted for 1% of units sold in 2016.)
Unit sales of e-books in the adult fiction segment fell 15% in 2016, and, while the format accounted for 49% of all units sold last year in the category, that was down by three percentage points from 2015. E-book unit sales fell 13% in 2016 in adult nonfiction and accounted for 12% of all units sold in the segment last year, compared to 15% in 2015. In total, e-books’ share of trade unit sales was 23% in 2016, down from 27% in 2015....
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