Association of American Publishers are quite startling.
Indeed, it is little wonder that MediaBistro.com has headlined the news that adult hardcover sales sagged 24.4% in August 2010.
That is not all that is dire. Paperback sales decreased 18.3% that month, while adult mass market sales plunged 21.9%. Religious books were also down, but by the relatively insignificant figure of 0.4%. More disturbing are August figures for children's reading, hardcover children's books being down by 8%
and children's/young adult paperback sales down 15.1%. Remarkable, too, is that sales of hard-copy audio books decreased by 21.9% that month.
Yet the news is not all bad. Book sales over all increased by 3.4% when compared with figures for August 2009, and year-to-date sales are up by 6.9%. So what has bolstered the figures?
Textbook sales are partly responsible. University press hardback sales were up 10.2% in August, while university press paperback increased by 15.7%. The market for other professional tomes rose by 14.5%, which indicates that people still need real books if they want to learn.
Another factor is that downloaded audio books saw an increase of 4.6% over last August. Not bad -- but that figure pales into utter insignificance when compared with the revelation that E-book sales increased by 172.4% when compared to August 2009.
Looking at a wider range of dates produces an even more impressive figure. E-book sales for January-August 2010 totaled $263 million, compared to $89.8 million over January-August 2009, an overall increase of 193%.
It is the increase that is so significant. Year-to-date E-book sales comprise only 9.03% of total book sales -- but at the close of 2009 the figure was only 3.31%.
Obviously, that percentage is going to soar, and the future for E-book sales is guaranteed to be dramatic.