We doubt the world will ever get to a stage where it'll completely ditch ye olde paper books, but the US consumer market seems to clearly have its heart set on the electronic kind right now. Net ebook sales in January were this week reported to have accumulated $69.9 million in revenue for their publishers, which amounts to a 116 percent jump from last year's total for the month. During the same period, adult hardcovers were down 11.3 percent to $49.1 million and paperbacks faced a similar reduction in demand and fell to $83.6 million, a precipitous drop of 19.7 percent year-on-year. Educational and children's books weren't spared from this cull of the physical tome, either -- skip past the break to see the full statistical breakdown.
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E-Books, Downloadable Audio Books Continue Growth Based on AAP Publishers January 2011 Sales Report

March 17, 2011, New York, NY– E-books and downloadable audio books continue to grow in popularity according to the January 2011 sales report of the Association of American Publishers. Figures for the first month of the new year show that E-book net sales increased by 115.8% vs January 2010 (from $32.4 Million to $69.9M). Sales of Downloadable Audio Books also rose by 8.8% vs the previous year ($6.0M to $6.5M). As AAP reported last month in its December 2010 monthly report and full 2010 analysis, E-book sales have increased annually and significantly in all nine years of tracking the category.

Among the other highlights of the January 2011 report:

Total books sales on all platforms, in all categories, hit $805.7 Million for January. This was a slight drop from January 2010's $821.5M sales (-1.9%).

Adult Hardcover category fell from $55.4M to $49.1M (-11.3%), Adult Paperback dropped from $104.2M to $83.6 (-19.7%) and Adult Mass Market declined from $56.4M to $39.0 (-30.9%)

In the Children's/Young Adult category, Hardcover sales were $31.2M in January 2011 vs $31.8M in January 2010 (-1.9%) while Paperbacks were $25.4M, down 17.7% from $30.9M in January 2010.

Physical Audio Books sales were $7.3M vs $7.9M the previous year (-6.7%).

Sales of Religious Books grew by 5.6%, from $49.8M to $52.6M.

Sales in the Higher Education category were $382.0M for January 2011, a slight drop (-1.4%) from $387.6M the previous year. K-12 sales hit $82.6M for the month vs $97.0M for the previous year (-14.9%).

In Professional and Scholarly Books, sales grew 1.3%, from $51.2M to $51.8M. Sales of University Press Hardcovers were $3.9M in January 2011 vs $4.5M the previous year (-14.0%) while University Press Paperbacks were $6.2M vs $6.7M (-7.8%).

All figures cited represent domestic net sales for U.S. book publishers.

About AAP
The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. Its 300 members include most of the major commercial, education and professional publishers as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies. They publish content on every platform for a global audience.