eBook sales as reported by a small but growing group of publishers to the AAP remained lower than their peaks earlier in the year in November, at $77.3 million up modestly from October’s reported $72.8 million. Overall, ebooks comprised 16 percent of trade sales, compared to 12.6 percent in October. The peak during 2011 was February, when high ebook numbers and low print shipments made digital 29.5 percent of the month’s reported sales. Further skewing the month-to-month and year-over-year comparisons, the number of publishers reporting ebook sales to the AAP keeps changing from month to month. For November, 8 more university presses have started reporting ebook sales, making 26 reporting publishers in all. (Columbia University Press and Rizzoli have dropped off this month, but are expected to report again in the future.) Last December, there were only 12 reporting publishers.
Following the year’s pattern, the gain of $30.7 million in ebook sales over last November couldn’t make up for the larger drop in print shipments, as total AAP trade sales declined $29.7 million or 5.7 percent for the month. (Indeed, for the 11 reported months, overall trade dollars are down 5.8 percent compared to 2010, which isn’t bad considering the disappearance of Borders and the growth of lower-priced ebooks.)
Children’s and YA hardcovers were the biggest gainers after ebooks in the month, at net shipments of $87.2 million up 27 percent compared to a year ago. That made children’s hardcovers the second largest trade segment for the month (with ebooks once again just barely in fourth place). Religious books–which we don’t count as trade, but the AAP does–also rose slightly for the month. Below is the updated version of our chart helping to track monthly ebook sales patterns: