According to a recent survey from The Publisher’s Association, fiction ebook sales are up by 149% on 2011 figures. In the same set of statistics printed books are only down by 1% on the previous year. Overall, this is good news for writers.
The issue of ebook versus printed book has been debated to death over the last few years. ‘What will the future bring?’ they ask, ‘are we doomed?’ ‘Who’s going to be the winners?’ But the answer seems to be a resounding victory for all concerned.
The advent of the digital revolution has meant that more people are reading more of the time. The amount of books being sold overall is increasing. For me, it’s irrelevant in which format the book is being read in, as long as people are reading.
The figures bring up a couple of interesting thoughts…
Printed books are constant
Only a year ago, columnists were announcing the end of the printed book as we know it. In the UK market, 88% of books sold in 2012 were printed, this was 92% in 2011, but still it shows quite a healthy majority.
Also, the amount sold has stayed relatively the same (dropping by only 1%). I’ve been saying for some time that the market will settle and both formats will be purchased for different reasons. This looks to be the case.
eBooks are increasing
More devices are being sold, which means more books are sold to put on them. As the digital format becomes more and more accepted, this trend will increase, meaning that the total numbers of books sold will continue to increase.
As the demand increases so will the supply, in both volume and quality. I think we’re on the cusp of a golden age for literature as barriers to entry are removed, or at least redefined. TV habits are changing and reading habits are filling the quality gap.
The market’s expanding and there’s room for all of us. Jump in and try the water.