The figures, which were posted on GalleyCat on Friday, show that net sales revenue from ebooks exceeded that of hardcover books in the first quarter of the year: a first. The data was compiled from 1,189 publishers and did not include children’s books.
Collectively, adult ebooks brought in $282.3 million in Q1. That’s an impressive 28.4% increase from the same period a year ago. Young adult and children’s ebooks performed even better, catapulting 233% to $64.3 million. Sales of adult hardcover books grew too, but more modestly, up 2.7% to $229.6 million in Q1 2012.
What’s driving the growth? The proliferation of ereading devices, from tablets and smartphones to dedicated ereaders, has a lot to do with it. Research published by Pew in April found a strong correlation between the spike in sales of ereading-capable devices and ebook adoption over the holidays.
Paperback sales continue to lead, bringing in $299.8 million in revenue in the first quarter of the year, but appear to be on the decline. (In fact, ebook sales surpassed paperback sales more than a year-and-a-half ago on Amazon.) Last year, net sales revenue for paperbacks amounted to $335 million.
Notably, downloadable audiobooks grew at an even greater rate than ebooks in that period, up 32.7% to $25 million in the first part of the year.
We’re curious: How have your book consumption habits shifted over the past few years? Are you buying more ebooks or audiobooks and, if so, are you buying less hardcovers and paperbacks as a result?