US e-book surge takes format into the lead

US e-book surge takes format into the lead

E-book sales in the US rocketed more than 200% in February, overtaking trade paperbacks as the biggest category, according to figures released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

E-book sales were $90.3m, growing 202.3% compared with February 2010. Downloaded audiobooks were $6.9m, an increase of 36.7%. Adult trade categories combined (hardcover, paperback and mass market) were $156.8m, down 34.4%. Children’s/young adult categories combined were $58.5m, a decline of 16.1%.

The decline in trade print sales to $215.3m was not compensated by the rise in digital, though the AAP noted that since the start of the year e-books have increased by 169.4% while all categories combined of print trade books declined by 24.8%

The AAP attributed the surge to a high level of strong post-holiday e-book buying, or "loading" by consumers who received e-reader devices as gifts.

Tom Allen, president and chief executive officer of AAP, said: “The February results reflect two core facts: people love books and publishers actively serve readers wherever they are. The public is embracing the breadth and variety of reading choices available to them. They have made e-books permanent additions to their lifestyle while maintaining interest in print format books.”