Times are changing rapidly, but one fact remains certain: Readers and writers will continue to thrive in some form
Anyone with the remotest interest in publishing knows that this has been a period of extraordinary activity in the way books are being distributed and read. But, looking back at the first months of 2011, including some of my own pieces (April 13, April 20), I am still amazed at how much is happening, and how quickly. So here in brief summary are some highlights of what truly has been a remarkable season.
The E-Book Surge
In February, the Association of American Publishers reported that sales of e-books had risen to $90.3 million for the month, which represented 20.4 percent of total revenues for book sales. This was the highest percentage of any category of books and is especially notable because the sale of hardcover and mass market books showed a significant drop. As explained in the industry newsletter Shelf Awareness, "the AAP attributed the gain primarily to buying by consumers who had received e-readers as gifts and noted that e-sales of backlist titles has grown substantially. 'Many publishers report that e-book readers who enjoy a newly released book will frequently buy an author's full backlist.'" This dramatic increase in e-book sales across a range of e-readers, tablets, and mobile devices such as the iPhone did not, however, offset an overall decline in revenue for book sales among publishers through February of about 5 percent.