New research on worldwide consumption of ebooks from Nielsen suggests that we could be at the end of the period of explosive growth for digital reading, as year-on-year sales fell for the first time.
Nielsen’s new “Understanding the E-Book Consumer” for July 2013, which is based on data from the Kantar World Panel, also contains some better news for proponents of digital reading. It predicts that ebooks will overtake sales of print books in 2014, with total sales expected to rise to 47 million units. This will put total ebook sales 300,000 ahead of their print equivalents and mean that electronic books account for 48% of the overall fiction market.
Away from the predictions, those parts of Nielsen Kantar’s report that are based on historic data show a more mixed picture for publishers. Sales of ebooks fell for the third consecutive month in April 2013, showing a (very slight) year-on-year decline of 0.1% – the first time such a thing has been recorded in this market. Nielsen attributes this slowdown to the lack of a star performing title in children’s and young adult publishing in 2013 to replicate the success that Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy enjoyed last year.
Year-on-year ebook sales fall for the first time, says Nielsen Research | Publishing Technology.