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.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Exponential charts are tricky. They can be used to minimize fast growth when it is quantitatively fast, just slow percentage YOY growth. That is the state we're in now. With ebooks at 27% market share (probably far better as that is comparing retail print versus wholesale ebooks), one would expect slower growth as order of magnitude would have ebooks at over 90% market share in no time.
Notice how fast the ebook growth was proportionately in 2009 and 2010? The market went from nothing to a significant market. In 2011, the publishers in the AAP's efforts to preserve print book growth worked until the holiday 2011 ereaders hit customer hands. Notice on the 2nd graph that sales are still accelerating faster than the 2010 liner trend line. So even if the exponential chart looks somewhat flat, it is still healthy growth.
Compare to the above trendline/prediction. Ebooks are slightly above the curve. My 50% market share prediction by 1/31/2013 might not be off by much. :)
Note: I still expect print books to hold on. There is a nostalgia with books. However, the economies of scale of print are starting to fall. In particular with MMPB.