E-book revenues fell 5.7% in May 2022
Sales of e-books have fallen all year in the United States. This is mostly attributed to last year’s pandemic, when e-book sales were the highest in nearly a decade. This trend continues in May 2022 when e-book revenue decreased 5.7% for the month compared to May 2021 for a total of $82.5 million. Digital audiobook sales rose 6.2% in May, to $65.2 million. Physical audio fell 46.4% to $1.2 million.
Year-to-date eBook revenue was down 9.1% from the first five months of 2021 to a total of $420.9 million. Digital audiobooks grew 4.0%, with revenue of $326.3 million. Physical audio fell 35.0% to $6.1 million.
Given that e-book revenues are down for the year, does that mean hardbacks and paperbacks are making up for the loss? Not necessarily. In terms of physical paper revenues during the month of May, in the Commerce category (consumer books), related revenues decreased by 10.7%, to $227.8 million; Paperbacks grew 5.6%, with revenue of $249.8 million; The mass market fell 46.6% to $10.3 million; while specialty binders grew 42.9%, with sales of $12.7 million.
Year-to-date, retail revenue fell 1.4% to $3.5 billion for the first five months of the year. Hardcover revenue fell 7.5% to $1.2 billion; Paperbacks grew 8.7%, with revenue of $1.3 billion; The mass market fell 25.6% to $73.9 million; and specialty binders grew 4.0%, with sales of $68.8 million.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and The New York Times. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.