According to the e-book sales data released by a Nielsen report, e-book sales decreased by 16% in 2016. The report was presented at the Digital Book World conference in New York City. The report includes e-book sales figures from more than 30 traditional publishers who sold their e-books in the first 9 months of 2016.
Although the sales from the last 3 months weren’t in the conclusion, the estimate was made based on the sales figures of the previous months.
Which segment has taken the biggest hit? With a 28% drop, the juvenile non-fiction segment experienced the biggest drop. It accounts for the 10% of the total drop in the e-book sales.
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.
Several reasons are being cited for the decline in the sale of e-books. One reason is that the prices of e-books increased to bring them at par with paperbacks and hardcovers due to some negotiation going on between digital publishers and traditional publishers. There was no longer a price advantage for e-books. The e-book version of a book almost costs the same as the paperback or the hardcover version and maybe the pricing difference was a big factor in purchasing e-books.
Although I mostly purchase e-books for convenience – personally for me it’s easier to read an e-book than a conventional book – pricing does play an important role.
Another reason is that more people are purchasing tablets and less people are purchasing e-book readers and I can see why. I have Kindle Paperwhite and I haven’t been much impressed. I still find myself reading my Kindle books on my daughter’s iPad or my MiPad. In fact, recently I almost purchased an iPad Mini just to read books but then just in time I stopped myself.
The Kindle Reader feels very ancient, slow and the biggest problem is, when a book contains images, they look terrible in Kindle Reader. The only time I read on my Kindle Paperwhite is when I have to sit under the sun.
But the downside of having a tablet is, as rightly mention in the above link, it has been observed that people who purchase tablets purchase less books compared to those who purchase a digital book reader like Kindle reader or Nook. This could also be because a person who purchases a dedicated e-book reading device is naturally a serious reader compared to the one having a tablet and reading a book just because it can be read.
Surprisingly, there has been an increase in the sale of traditional books.