The Association of American Publishers has released their final stats for 2011 U.S. book sales, which are summarized in the charts below. The first one shows the figures for December compared to the same month a year before, giving us pre-holiday sales comparisons. Ebooks were up for the month by 72%, one of the poorest showing for digital during all of 2010.
This is more than likely due to the gift-giving run-up to the holiday, in which shoppers are finding themselves a bit befuddled: do you buy your book loving gift recipient a print book, knowing they already have or are getting an e-Reader for Christmas? Or do you settle for a bookstore gift card, or more adventurously attempt to gift an actual ebook, hoping to choose the right format?
The answer seemed to be to give them something else instead (such as the e-Reader itself), since print sales hardly made up the difference in digital's "meager" showing (virtually every other month of 2011 showed at least a 100% increase, with February breaking 200%). While all major print categories were down, the Children's/Young Adult Hardcover segment put in a strong showing, with a 12.3% increase over 2010. I guess we know what kids got for Christmas this year. Adult Mass Market fared the worst, with a 40.9% decline from $57 million in December 2010 to just $33.8 this year.
According to these figures, for the full year 2011, ebooks accounted for 21.4% of total book sales. This excludes Religious titles, since digital is not broken out of those figures (nor included in the ebook numbers, so it could be higher or lower, but there's no way to know from this). Additionally, Digital Audiobooks are not included, since there are no stats provided for physical audiobook sales as a comparison (and why that is I do not know: does anybody still buy audiobooks on tape or cd besides libraries and truckers?). Downloaded Audiobooks have been making consistently decent gains for several years, so I can only guess that physical audiobook sales are taking a relatively dramatic hit.
For the record, these figures represents sales data provided to the AAP by 77 publishers, including all the major trades. However, this does not account for the thousands of independent publishers, nor the millions of self-published titles out there, the vast majority of which are mainly ebooks. How much that would skew the numbers can only be surmised.