Perhaps the reason print book sales are on the rise has nothing to do with coloring books, digital fatigue, the “ebook fad” or book store appeal. Data Guy has offered a different reason based on the data he has scraped for Author Earnings.
To start, independent book store sales are up 5 percent from 2015, but the rest of the brick and mortar stores are down 5 percent, on average. However, the industry is up 15 percent as a whole with the difference coming from Amazon.
Data Guy states that the real reason print sales are up is because a change in how Amazon priced its titles. In 2015, discounts on ebooks for large traditional publishers was eliminated. In turn, Amazon discounted the prices of print books in mid-2015 – and that’s where we see the change in print sales.
To break down the data even further, when Amazon discounted sales in some of the spring and summers months, sale units on print books were up 7 percent. However, when it scaled back its discounts just a few short months later, the overall percentage of unit sales also dropped and at the end of the year, the industry saw an increase of just 3.3 percent from a year before.
Data Guy surmises that the question really shouldn’t be about print vs. digital. People want to read, and they are going to do it in ways that are easiest and convenient for them. This bigger question is brick and mortar vs. online sales. Online sales are ever increasing with Amazon taking the bulk of the sales.
Because we are currently seeing online sales wallop brick and mortar unit sales, he said about two-third of traditionally published adult books are bought online.
He uses unit sales rather than dollars spent as a measure of consumer buying behavior.
But all of this just reflects traditionally published books.
What about the non-traditionally published books? Consumers spend $1.25 BILLION on these, which equates to about 300 million units. The majority are indie ebooks with an average price around $2.99.
One more fascinating note taken away from Data Guy’s presentation — 43 percent of all ebook dollars (and 24 percent of all book dollars) are now going to books without ISBNs. That’s something to consider and I would love to hear your opinions on that on the comments.
Data Guy had a lot more interesting tidbits that I will share very soon.