Monday, June 18, 2012

Ebooks vs Pbooks

GalleyCat (which is a part of the wonderful daily media newsletter from MediaBistro) had an interesting article today about ebook and pbook sales for the first quarter of 2012.

Apparently ebook sales for the adult category (as opposed to the erotic and BSDM genre, mind you :)) have outpaced the sales of adult pbooks by about 23% (which I think is pretty significant). Ebook sales were at $282.3 mil, hardcovers at $229.6 mil

But if you take a look at the YA and children's market, ebooks are still way behind. Hardcover sales for YA/children's were $187.7 mil, while ebooks there were $64.3 mil (even though that relatively small # accounted for an amazing 233% growth over 2011. Which should give you reason for caution when hearing about the death of print books using only percentages and no real numbers for reference, or vice versa).

Why do you think this is? Are teens and adults reading YA just more interested in physical package, things like covers? Are they more sentimental? Adult readers, which side of the line are you on?


  1. I think it might partly have to do with the fact that adults aren't as likely to drop money on another digital device. When they've already bought their kids computers, cell phones, iPods, cars, etc. But that's...just a guess. Might also be teens enjoy having something physical in their hands.

    I have, in the past, tried to ask any of my friends who have teenagers that read a lot. Every single one of them already read e-books! So didn't help much for research. ;)

  2. I agree it's the purchasing of the device. I go back and forth because I worry my nine year old will drop it in a toilet or leave it somewhere.

  3. I’m happy that ebooks are still way behind in the YA and children's market. Even though my daughters are avid readers, I often have to pry them away from the computer and their electronic games to read their library books. Well, the truth be told, I spend too much time on the computer, too. But I like the idea of my daughters cuddling up with good paperback or hardback books.

  4. I think part of it comes down to access: most of the adults I know have some brand of e-reader, but when I was teaching middle school, I only had ONE student out of a hundred who had a Nook. Teens like technology, but they can't always afford it.

  5. Well, the Kindle isn't cool. I think this is a huge part of this being that it still dominates the ebook market. Once kids get hold of a cooler device (nope - not the Kindle Fire either)as a passdown from parents or on their own, this is going to change in a big way.

    3 years ago video game developers moved away from kids games because moms and dads were playing and not sharing their iPhones nicely. Boy oh boy, has that changed in a big way. I think it's coming and it's coming fast. The up curve on the adoption rate graph would thrill the Von Trapp family. 233% ain't nothin' to sneeze at.

  6. Kids want a product, and cool and shiny digital toys, Kindles, etc., are still not quite as cozy as a book you can snuggle under your covers with, or read with friends. Books are timeless, technology goes out of date. I still have my fave children's books, but I ditched by old Compaq and typewriter years ago. Also, practically, books can be passed down, parent to kid. Somehow passing down a Nook or your old Nintendo doesn't have the same sentimental value. Still, each has its place. Sheila Lewis