The writing could be on the wall for paperbacks, as e-books surpassed them in sales for the first time. In a report released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), e-books outsold paperbacks in February by more than $9 million (Dh33m).
After calculating sales data from US publishing houses, the report revealed digital books sold $90.3m while paperbacks trailed with $81.2m. The result shows a rise of more than 200 per cent in e-book sales from February last year. In an accompanying statement, the AAP credited the results to rising e-book sales during the end-of-year holiday period.
"Additionally, trade publishing houses cite e-books as generating fresh consumer interest in - and new revenue streams for - 'backlist' titles, books that have been in print for at least a year," the AAP said. "Many publishers report that e-book readers who enjoy a newly released book will frequently buy an author's full backlist."
AAP president Tom Allen said while there will always be an interest in printed books, the results prove e-books are growing fast to become a mainstay in family libraries.
"The February results reflect two core facts: people love books and publishers actively serve readers wherever they are," he said. "The public is embracing the breadth and variety of reading choices available to them. They have made e-books permanent additions to their lifestyle while maintaining interest in print-format books."
Other study results showed the combined sales of paperbacks and hardbacks dropped in February by 34 per cent, and sales of printed books in the children and young adult category also slid by 16 per cent.