E-Book Boom Fizzles

Sales growth bottoms out after years of huge increases

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 8, 2013 9:39 AM CDT

(Newser) – The e-book boom looks to be finished, writes Nicholas Carr at the Rough Type blog. He picks up on stats from the Association of American Publishers that show just a 5% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the previous year. That's "anemic," he writes, and continues the trend of rapidly declining sales growth from 2012. E-books are still hurting print books, whose sales fell about 5% in the first quarter, but the digital versions seem to be settling in at about the 25% mark of total book sales.

"In spite of the spectacular growth of e-books in 2008 to 2011, we all know that eventually the ride would come to a stop as the growth of e-book market share slowed," writes Nate Hoffelder at the Digital Reader. "I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly." Lots of reasons might be at play, but Carr wonders whether the drop is being helped along by the switch to multitasking tablets instead of devices (like the original Kindle) dedicated solely to reading. "Are tablets less conducive to book buying and reading than e-readers were?" Meanwhile, the numbers are worse worldwide: Nielsen Research says e-book sales actually declined in the first quarter—the first time that's happened, reports Publishing Technology.

A file photo of the Kindle Fire.
A file photo of the Kindle Fire.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
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