increase.jpgAccording to the Association of American Publishers audio book sales for 2009 totaled $192 million, down 12.9% on the prior year. E-books overtook audiobooks in 2009 with sales reaching $313 million in 2009, up 176.6%. The report uses data from the Bureau of the Census as well as sales data from eighty-six publishers inclusive of all major book publishing media market holders.

Overall, U.S. publishers had net sales of $23.9 billion in 2009, down from $24.3 billion in 2008, representing a 1.8% decrease. In the last seven years the industry had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.1%.

For more details look at the Resource Shelf report here.


  1. So THAT’S why prices were raised, to boost sales? And that’s why I lost access to some ebooks at Fictionwise and EReader, because I like others helped boost sales over the years? NOW I get it!

  2. Hmm…. biggest recession for 70 years, and the book industry saw net sales down by just 1.8% or $400 million.

    Looking a little closer at the figures, we see that the major decline (in both percentage numbers and absolute dollars) was the K-12 education market, down 13.8%, or over $800 million. I suspect that California (& other states)’s reduced textbook purchases account for most of that.

    In short – where’s the $3 billion per quarter losses to piracy? Where’s the reason publishers are irritating customers and spending extra on DRM schemes?

    ebook sales in 2009 had their highest ever growth rate – even beating the 169.5% rate they have in the early days of 2003.

    ebooks sales now are more than audiobook sales – 50% more. And publishers are trying to stifle computer reading of ebooks to save audiobook sales?

    ebook sales have now reached nearly 1/3rd the value of mass market paperbacks! Their AVERAGE growth rate over the past seven years has been 71%. If that average rate continued for another seven years, ebooks would bring in $13 billion dollars a year – over half the income of the book industry.

    Personally, I don’t think we will see an average of 70% growth in ebooks over the next seven years. But equally, I don’t expect to see it average under 50%. And average 50% growth rate would see 1/5th of publisher’s income from ebooks in 2016.

    In short, piracy fears are misplaced. Spending on DRM is wasted money. Ebooks are going to be bringing in more money than mass market paperbacks within 4 years.

  3. Teleread and I both survived through the hard times, when people made fun of eBooks and argued that they were a flash-in-the-pan, a bad idea that would never catch on with real readers. Last weekend the couple I was playing bridge with were interested to hear I was an author. “But can we get your books for the Kindle?” was their question.

    Audio-books last year, paper books in maybe two years. There’s no stopping us.

    Rob Preece

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail