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Ebook sales down but SF and Fantasy booming

13 June 2016

Recent US figures released by Nielsen show that print sales are up and ebook sales down in the US. EbooksDigital bookstore selling wide range of ebooks in 50 categories from Hildegard of Bingen to How to Write a Dirty Story and showing how the range of ebooks available is growing.' share of the total market slipped from 27% in 2014 to 24% last year, although e-book consumption via smartphone grew from 7.6% in 2014 to 14.3% in 2015.

Behind these overall figures there was a remarkable movement in sales of particular categories however. Non-fiction did surprisingly well, having struggled in 2014, with 12% growth in children's non-fiction and 7% growth in adult non-fiction. On the fiction front, science fiction and fantasy increased by an extraordinary 44%, classics by 32% (in the UK too - someone commented to me yesterday that the London Tube is full of people reading the classics) and graphic novels also went up by a stunning 22%. Adult colouring books, which have had a stupendous year (and distorted all other figures), sold an estimated 12 million copies in 2015, compared with 1 million in 2014.

Ebook prices have increased in 2015, due to major publishers renegotiating their contracts with Amazon and having more control over the prices at which ebooks are sold.. This resulted in a decrease in e-book sales, while indie authors picked up the slack and started to sell cheaper books. The latter's pricing strategy has remained consistently focused on offering low prices since 2013.

It seems a long way away from the heady forecasts at the beginning of the digital revolution in the book world - that ebooks would totally replace print within five years.

For a fuller account of the Nielsen figures, some nice charts and access to the full report, go to Goodreader