E-book sales triple from a year ago, now top-selling book format
E-book sales are piling up fast.
In February, a couple of months after huge numbers of readers got electronic reading devices for the holidays, sales of e-books reached $90 million -- more than tripling the number from a year earlier, according to the Assn. of American Publishers.
Although that number was still smaller than sales for all paper formats combined, it outstripped any single print format -- hardcover, trade paperback or mass market paperback (think mystery novels and blocky airport fare).
Scorching e-book sales are generating another side effect, publishers said.
"Trade publishing houses cite e-books as generating fresh consumer interest in -- and new revenue streams for -- 'backlist' titles," the AAP said in a statement. Backlist titles are "books that have been in print for at least a year. Many publishers report that e-book readers who enjoy a newly released book will frequently buy an author’s full backlist."
The AAP's data comes from 84 publishing houses, including 16 that sell e-books.
Last summer, online retailer Amazon.com Inc. said sales of e-books for its Kindle reader had far eclipsed hardcover book sales, noting at the time that it had been selling e-books for only a little more over two years and had been selling paper books since 1995.
Apple's iPad has also caught on quickly as a reading device, selling more than 100 million e-books since it was introduced about a year ago.
-- David Sarno
Image: Amazon's Kindle device. Credit: kodomut via Flickr