Are eBook sales really in a huge slump?
I just saw this article from the U.K.:
According to the author, sales of fiction eBooks in the U.K. have slumped for the past two years.
The article goes on to state that the sales of printed books has increased, with those being mostly self help, non-fiction and children’s books. The drop in sales is said to be around 4% in 2015, and another 3% the following year. Analysis of the numbers would indicate that a big portion of the slump is attributed to a drop in children’s eBooks and a corresponding increase in children’s print titles.
I personally am skeptical of this data for several reasons.
- It appears that it comes from the Publisher’s Association, which also represents heavy hitters such as Random House, Hachette, etc. Those houses, while they do dabble in eBooks, exist mostly to publish physical instead of digital content.
- Some of the drain on eBooks it also attributed to a surge in adult coloring books. I think that if they classify those along with fiction, it’s not a fair comparison.
- Statistics don’t lie, but liars sometimes (intentionally or not) skew statistics. The categorizations they use don’t make sense in so many ways.
- There have been several big releases recently, and some authors and publishers are very shrewd. Take for example the recent release of J.K Rowling’s latest efforts. She is smart and so is her publisher. She commands a huge amount of preorders for her very enjoyable work, and it is typically released in print only for some time, then the eBook and audiobook formats are added later. Huge popular releases could skew the data, particularly if the titles aren’t available in eBook format for some time.
- When you’re talking about percentages, you have an upper limit (100%), so any defined category that increases has to create a decrease somewhere else. If some publishers are smart enough to promote popular books in categories that are comparable, that’s just the free market. A good thing.
- Adult coloring books in my opinion are a fad, and they’re a fad that didn’t exist just a couple of years ago. I don’t believe that it’s appropriate to include those in with fiction books. In my mind, they’re more of a craft project or something. If adults are giving up reading fiction to color books, they’ve replaced reading with an activity–not the same thing. Let’s remove them from the category of fiction and non-fiction eBooks and print and re-rack the numbers.
My opinion for what it’s worth is that eBooks will reverse the temporary (and inaccurately correlated) trend soon. And if they don’t? I’m producing my novels in audiobook format anyway. That’s a sector that I know is growing.
My latest novel, Lethal Agenda, is in production now as an audiobook and should be available in June, 2017. Add your name to my email list and I’ll enter you in a drawing for one of many FREE COPIES.