Right now, publishing houses and librarians across the country are thinking to themselves, “oh shit that was faster than expected,” after it was revealed that sales of e-books bested both paperback and hardcover sales for the first time. The tidal shift occurred in February.
E-book sales totaled $90.3 million in February, up 202% compared to the same month a year earlier, according to a study from the Association of American Publishers. That put e-books at No. 1 “among all categories of trade publishing” that month — the first time e-books have beaten out traditional publishing formats.
Those figures do come with some caveats, so there may be reason not to panic yet.
But an AAP representative noted that the report comes with some big caveats. First, the net sales data are compiled from publishers, not from book retailers like Barnes & Noble. Publishers submit that data voluntarily, and some choose not to do so.
“It’s not 100%, top to bottom, every single book out there,” said AAP spokeswoman Andi Sporkin. “But it’s a really good snapshot of what’s going on.”
The AAP report attributed February’s strong numbers to a post-holiday e-book buying surge by consumers who received e-readers devices as gifts.
The publishing industry better take notice and figure out their future more than the music and film industry did. Because their future is here.