Friday, January 13, 2012

Ebooks Take Over USA Today Top 50

This is part of a new graphic put out by USA Today this week, showing the rise of ebook sales up the bestseller charts. The full chart shows dates running back to July 2009 when Amazon's ebook sales were first added to the bestseller charts, but entries in the top fifty were essentially non-existent until last January, so I haven't included that portion of the chart here. However, you can click though on the image to view it over at USA Today.

The only important points missing from the truncated chart above are the inclusion of Barnes & Noble ebook sales in December of 2009, and Sony's in February 2010, plus the singular event when I, Sniper by Stephen Hunter became the first ebook to crack the top 50, coming in at #48 on January 1st, 2010.

Points noted on the chart above include:
  1. First ebooks crack the Top 10 as post-holiday sales explode
  2. Kobo ebook sales added (no significant impact in the U.S.)
  3. Ebook sales begin to dip as holiday shoppers buy print books as gifts instead (and a whole lot of e-reading devices)
  4. Ebooks outsell print editions for every title in the Top 10, including 42 of the top 50 best selling titles
As with this week last year, ebook sales have increased exponentially after a holiday season in which literally millions of new e-reading devices were received as gifts. Forrester Research estimates that Amazon has sold some five million Kindle Fires since its launch in mid November, with Barnes & Noble adding two million new Nook Tablets to the fray. Apple, meanwhile, sent out around forty million iPads last year, although it's difficult to determine how many will be used to read ebooks. 

With digital editions overtaking print for the top spots on the bestseller charts, print is destined to decline even faster in the coming year, as print sales have largely been held up by the million-selling titles. Initial figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show that print sales fell by 9% in 2011, due in part to the demise of Borders, who sold their final book in September. But if post-holiday ebook sales remain as stable this year as they did throughout the past year, ebooks might well achieve market dominance this year.