E-book sales decreased by 16% in 2016


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.

About Amrit Hallan
Amrit Hallan is the founder of TechBakBak.com. He writes about technology not because "he loves to write about technology", he actually believes that it makes the world a better place. On Twitter you can follow him at @amrithallan

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