Children's Sales Keep March Numbers Stable, As eBooks Moderate to 22% Overall

After two strong months of sales reports, the AAP numbers for March show a flatter overall trade market, with children's sales (powered by the Hunger Games) registering big gains that almost kept pace with the decline in adult sales (which do not incorporate the 50 Shades phenomenon yet). Net trade sales from reporting publishers totaled $477.5 million for the month, $200,000 ahead of the revised total for March 2011. Net children's and young adult sales jumped from $95.9 million a year ago to $140 million this year.

eBook sales seem to be following their pattern of peaking at the beginning on the year on post-holiday purchases and then moderating somewhat. Adult ebooks registered $86.2 million, lower than both trade paperback sales (at $99.3 million) and hardcovers ($93.3 million), and up about a third compared to adult ebook sales of $64.8 million a year ago. Children's/YA ebook sales hit $19.3 million, compared to $7 million a year ago, but it remains difficult to know if this represents a lift across the board or simply shows the big impact of Hunger Games ebooks.

Overall, ebooks comprised 22 percent of trade sales for month, comprising 25.5 percent of adult sales and almost 14 percent of children's sales. Below is our running chart of monthly ebook comparisons:

And here is a new chart to add to the mix, showing month-to-month AAP ebook sales since the beginning of 2010. (Our 2011 entries still reflect the original numbers as reported during 2011. At the end of 2012, when the AAP has updated the 2011 monthly data to reflect the newly expanded pool of reporting publishers, we will adjust the monthly 2011 entries. As it turns out, however, the expanded reporting has barely changed the historical ebook data.)

For the first quarter of 2012, children's and YA sales are up 64 percent at $407 million and adult sales are up almost 2 percent, at $963 million. Total ebook sales of $346.6 million are up approximately 45 percent versus 2011.