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2015 U.S. Book Industry Year-End Review

1 minute read | May 2016

We’ve all heard the saying “Everything that’s old is new again.” In the book realm, that statement couldn’t ring more true, as sales of traditional print books increased almost 3%, while sales of e-books dipped. As a result, e-books’ share of the total market slipped from 27% in 2014 to 24% last year. That said, however, certain genres maintained a larger share in the digital realm than others, including Romance and Thrillers.

Despite the slight shift in total e-book sales, one channel within the digital space saw significant growth: smartphones. In fact, e-book consumption via smartphone grew from 7.6% in 2014 to 14.3% in 2015, which is yet another signal of how ubiquitous our handheld best friends have become.

In looking at category trends, non-fiction was the highlight of 2015, with 12% growth in children’s non-fiction and 7% growth in adult non-fiction. On the fiction front, the big gainers were science fiction (44%), classics (32%) and graphic novels (22%). Adult coloring books also had a breakout year, with an estimated 12 million copies sold in 2015, compared with 1 million in 2014.

Print Book Consumption Bounces Back

BookScan’s total print book sales of 653 million units were up 2.8% in units from 2014. On the flip side, traditionally published e-books were down 13% in units according to PubTrack Digital, which tracks POS data through publishers for approximately 85% of the traditionally published e-book market.

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