While waiting for the AAP February book sales data, I thought I would show two more graphs that show just how strongly ebooks are doing. The two graphs have the same data, but by visually plotting them differently, it emphasizes two different aspects of the data.
Graph #1 is a bar graph that shows by within Month ebook growth. The ramp up in January ebook sales is impressive. We saw more impressive year over year growth in a month later in 2011... So I wonder how impressive February will be?
February, May, July, August, October, and December are the strongest months for 2011 ebook sales. We could see February sales 25% to 30% higher than January ebook sales! But also note there is some variability that I speculate that is 'weather induced.' So let's not get stuck up on individual month comparisons.
The January spike is despite $14.99+ ebook prices attempting to favor hardcover sales. Imagine the potential for ebook growth if publishers weren't throwing the format under the bus.
The second graph plots each year by color. The main point of this graph is to show the steady growth in ebook sales over the years. The market is not yet a mature market. There is no ambiguity about each year being at a level above the prior year. Not since 2009. At some point the market will mature and we'll see a month have the same sales or lower than a prior year. At that point authors will have to look for growth in the UK, Germany, Spain, India, etc.
Side discussion: It looks like the April 2011 Kindle store opening in Germany has put that market at roughly half way between 2009 and 2010 ebook penetration in 2011. In other words the German market seems to be about 18 months behind the maturity of the US market. It looks like that market is poised to take off. I suspect the German fixed price book market will slow ereader adoption until readers discover indie authors. Sometime in the next two years we'll see a nice chunk of customers enter the market. As well as customers from other regions ebook readers enter.