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eBook Sales Level off Book Sales Dip 19%


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Here is a summary of my relative book versus eBook sales from Amazon's affiliate program for 2009 through 2013.  The graph does not reveal revenue generated or units sold, but it does show the mix of book, ebooks and other everything else sold, via the Amazon affiliate program, over the last 5 years.


Interpret the graph this way, if I sold 100 products in 2009, 81 of them would have been books, one would have been an eBook and 18 would have been anything from a curling iron to a flash drive.


You can see that eBooks, as a percentage of everything else sold, has not changed from 2012 to 2013.  The explosive growth of ebooks relative to physical books, on AALBC.com, over the previous theee years has slowed dramatically.  The literature I've read indicates that the same trend is true industry wide.


Over all, the number of items sold was down 19% compared with 2012.  Unfortunately revenues decreased more sharply as commissions on ebooks (often selling for 0.99 cents), dwarf commissions generated by physical books.



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I'm trying to better understand why eBook sales, relative to everything else, I sell, in particular physical books, has not shown any additional growth despite growing rapidly from nothing starting in 2009.


The table below shows the average sales price of physical books and Kindle eBooks sold on AALBC.com.  These figures do not include products "sold" for free (priced at $0).  The range in prices for ebooks, during the three year period, was $0.79 to $29.99 and the range for physical books books sold was $0.01 to $133.99.


As you can see the average price of eBooks has actually gone down each of the last two years (down 23% since 2011), while the average price of a physical book has gone up each year (up 15% since 2011).  Now that the average eBook costs less than half of the price of a physical book, one would think eBook sales whould have continued to climb ever higher relative to physical books. 


Despite increasingly lower prices ebook sales have not grown relative to physical book sales.  


There is one other factor to consider my sales of the Kindle eReader is way down in 2013, compared to 2011.  I suspect everyone who wants an eReader has one.  Or if they want one they can't afford it in this economy despite Amazon's aggressive pricing (Kindle Fire starts at just $139 and the Kindle dedicated eReader is only 69 bucks).





If you are wondering, as was I, what ebook is selling for three times the price of the average physical book, this is it (price subjects to change)This is the most expensive physical book sold


There were tons of physical books that sold for a penny I have shared the most popular ones in a different conversation.

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I have both a nook and Kindle (no a freebies, I paid for them).  I don't use either right now.  This does not count the additional eBook readers purchased as gifts.  All in I may have purchased 5 ebook readers.  I see no reason to ever by another dedicated eBook reader.  Instead I'll just buy a tablet (maybe) for now my my cracked screen iPhone 4 is good enough.


I also have all the eBook reader aps on my phone -- including the Kobo.  I've never downed and read a Kobo book, has anyone?


Overtime, I've discovered that I prefer the printed book.  On the rare occasions when I feel the need to carry multiple books.  I simply carry the multiple books. 


Sure it is cool to have hundreds, or thousands, of books at your disposal, but that is over-kill.  One or two at my disposal is generally good enough for me. 


The only time I download ebooks now is if I want to check out some author I never heard of or if I want to take advantage of a freebie.  Usually I never get to the free ebook and actually read it.  I generally opt for the printed book I actual purchased or obtained from the publisher.


I no longer keep most of my books donated them selling them or otherwise giving someone else the benefit of the books contents is a big deal. 

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Kobo seems to be the preferred platform for indie booksellers, though onlydie hard supporters buy the Kobo eBooks. Everyone just buys from Amazon. It is like trying to get people to post on sites rather than Facebook.

No one will really care until Amazon is the only place to buy books and Facebook is the internet.

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Facebook will continue to grow beyond the US and exert its control over the internet.


Sure kids may flock over to sites like Snap Chat where there is a perception that your activity can't come back to bite you, while at the same time being too silly for any self-respecting adult to join.  Meanwhile marketers are dreaming up ways to sell shit to shatchatters or whatever they are called.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Richard I ran a search using your comment The statistics say Google+ is overtaking facebook there were a bunch of articles, all saying the same thing.  After skimming a few of them one referenced a source, this article:


A bunch of other sites are referencing an article using this graph saying Google+ will take over Facebook by 2016. 




However during this search I stumbled across an article:


Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality
The Web is critical not merely to the digital revolution but to our continued prosperity—and even our liberty. Like democracy itself, it needs defending
By Tim Berners-Lee


Sir Tim Berners-Lee, invented the world wide web by in 1990 starting with a web site and a browser on the same computer.  His article resonated deeply.  I've been active on the web for 20 years and what is cautions is happening and is a serious problem.


Tim's article is worth reading.

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Richard just send me troy@aalbc.com) a link to the article you want deleted troy@aalbc.com .  The system is setup to allow authors to delete articles, I'm not sure why this is not working.  If I had hundreds of active participants I would sort it out, but right now it is just easier for me to delete the errant posts.


I have to look up email alerts.  It is not a feature I really take advantage of.  You caught me at a really busy time too.  So I apologize for the delayed and in this case not very helpful response. 

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