Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Online Book Buying Grows

No big surprise—buying books online continues to increase. That refers to both paper and e-books. Here are some statistics from Bowker, just published in Shelf Awareness. The lag time in reporting means things have probably changed a bit since these were current, but the trend is clear, and interesting.

Interesting that e-books account for only 11% of spending. I thought that would be higher. And the other surprise for me was the genres that sell best as e-books, particularly mysteries. Hmm. Food for thought!

From Shelf Awareness Pro, 8/7/13:

Consumer Spending: Online Sales Keep Growing
Among findings from the 2013 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Review, published by Bowker Market Research and Publishers Weekly:
  • In the year after Borders's closing, online retailers' share of the market rose to 44% in 2012 from 39% the previous year.
  • Women increased their lead over men in book buying, accounting for 58% of overall book spending in 2012, up from 55% in 2011. However, men bought more hardcovers, the only area where their buying outpaced women's.
  • The slowly improving economy is slowly improving the climate for purchasing books. By the end of 2012, 53% of consumers said the economy was having no effect on their book buying habits, up from 51% at the end of 2011.
  • E-books continued to rise in popularity, accounting for 11% of spending in 2012, compared to 7% in 2011.
  • E-books were most popular in fiction, particularly in the mystery/detective, romance and science fiction categories.
  • Traditional print book output grew 3% in 2012, to 301,642 titles.


  1. I'm surprised about the e-books too. I did a poll in one of my big book giveaway hops and was surprised how many people still prefer print books. I do too.

  2. This is interesting. A show of the changing times for sure! Thanks for sharing it Linda.

  3. This is interesting. But the sad thing is... I try to buy from bookstores, but when I want something specific, they don't seem to have it. Ever. So I'm now only buying on line. It's just easier in a busy world.

  4. Well, it should. Just the same with a lot of media platforms going cyber. This is most welcome though, because it encourages intellectual investment, so that people don't get stuck with mere sensory appeal, such as, say, watching TV gives. It's just a matter of bringing it into as many people's attention as possible, so that more of them will get in on this and find their product.