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Revenue from e-book sales in the United States from 2008 to 2018 (in billion U.S. dollars)

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The timeline presents data on e-book sales revenue generated in the United States from 2008 to 2013 as well as a forecast until 2018. PwC expects the revenue will grow from 2.31 billion in 2011 to 8.69 billion in 2018.


E-book sales in the United States - additional information

An e-book, also known as an electronic or digital book, is a digitally released version of a book, often consisting of text and images and available on electronic devices, such as specifically designed e-book readers. The most well known e-book device is the Amazon Kindle, originally released in 2007. E-books can also be used on computers, tablets and even on smartphones, as a recent survey shows. Another survey regarding the intention to buy an e-reading device estimated that, in 2013, some fifty percent of the American population already had one.

In the United States, the e-books industry has grown tremendously in the past decade, primarily due to a higher supply and demand of e-book devices and applications, but also to lower prices compared to hard copies, as well as ease of travel and storage. In fact, Amazon.com, one of the largest providers of books in both hard and digital form, has reported that e-books sales for its Kindle outnumbered sales of hardcover books in July 2010. According to a PwC forecast, total e-book sales revenue in 2018 will reach 8.7 billion U.S. dollars, representing more than a three-thousand-percent increase from a decade earlier. Furthermore, the number of e-book users in the U.S. is expected to grow from 89.05 million in 2015 to 112.05 million in 2020, not including readers of e-magazines and e-papers, also increasingly popular.

In terms of e-book unit sales, a mere 10.03 million e-books were sold in 2008, but by 2013, higher demand for e-books escalated this value to more than 500 million units. Furthermore, many more e-books are available through American public libraries, which, since 2003, have an increasingly popular e-book lending model of both fiction and non-fiction titles for different audiences. However, despite the rise in e-book popularity, hard copy books were still the preferred choice for readers in 2014. Based on a survey, 46 percent of all respondents claimed to read only hard copy books, while only 6 percent of all respondents read only e-books. Unsurprisingly, the most prolific e-book readers are the Millennials (ages 18 to 29), which make up 37 percent of all digital book readers.

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