With more bookstores open, surge in e-book sales falls back to earth, says NPD
The digital format allowed for frictionless and virus-free shopping. Now that bookstores are open again, we expect e-book volume for the year 2021 to fall below 2020 levels, with the warning that the supply chain disruption could cause a further increase, if key books are not available during the holidays
PORT WASHINGTON, NY (PRWEB)
06 October 2021
Last year in 2020 marked the first time since 2013 that annual e-book unit sales of major U.S. publishers increased, increasing 22%, year-over-year, according to The NPD Group. With many physical bookstores shutting down due to restrictions from last year’s pandemic, e-book sales have benefited. However, so far in 2021, e-book growth has slowed and monthly levels were more consistent with pre-pandemic sales of 2019. From the start of the year until June 2021, unit sales have declined. by 8% compared to last year, but sales were still 8% higher than they were in 2019 before the pandemic.
“With the closure of physical stores last year, e-books were simply easier to buy than printed books,” said Kristen McLean, book industry analyst for NPD. “The digital format allowed for frictionless and virus-free shopping. Now that bookstores are open again, we expect e-book volume for the year 2021 to fall below 2020 levels, with the warning that the supply chain disruption could cause a further increase, if key books are not available during the holidays. Either way, the e-book format will definitely remain a vital part of the US book market – and a key format for certain categories. “
E-books represent more than one in six books sold
Combining print and e-book sales across all categories, e-books account for 18% of sales, or more than one in six books sold. In the 12 months ending June 2021, eBooks have lost a share point compared to the previous year. Absolute gains from sales of printed books were eight times that of e-books.
Adult fiction posted the largest share of eBooks, accounting for 41% of combined sales, but also lost the most format share points from the previous year, down 3 points. “January 2021 sales got a boost from Julia Quinn’s ‘Bridgerton’ book series,” McLean said. “Sales fell back to normal levels the following month and have been more in line with 2019 volume since then.”
About NPD Books
With the explosion of content generated by print books, video-on-demand streaming services, podcasts and audiobooks, our culture is increasingly dominated by the stories we tell. In this interconnected media landscape, books are the starting point for some of today’s hottest media properties. But as retailing and consumer shifts accelerate, it can be difficult to make sense of it all. We work with all of the major US publishing, retail, media and toy players to understand the evolution of digital and print content. Our experts in the book industry know the publishing world inside out; they tap into our point of sale data to help you make better, faster decisions in today’s marketplace.
About the NPD Group, Inc.
NPD offers data, industry expertise and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2,000 businesses around the world trust us to help them measure, forecast and improve performance across all channels, including physical commerce, e-commerce and B2B. We have services in 19 countries around the world, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe and APAC. Areas of practice include Apparel, Home Appliances, Automotive, Beauty, Books, B2B Technology, Consumer Technology, E-commerce, Fashion Accessories, Food Consumption, Catering, Footwear, home, children’s products, multimedia entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys and video games. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.
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