E-books - Statistics & Facts

E-books - Statistics & Facts

Statistics and facts about E-books


After the commercial success of E.L. James’s “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which in 2012 sold over a third of its copies digitally (and was first released as an e-book and only later as a paperback edition), one can safely say that the e-book industry is here to stay. On average, e-books account for 20 percent of all U.S. book sales and, though the growth cannot be described as steady, the revenue e-books generate continues to increase. E-books generated nearly $108 million in revenue in March 2013, but the industry’s most successful months in the last few years were May 2012 and February 2013, when sales reached nearly $134 and $132 million, respectively. As e-books account for an increasing share of book sales, more and more publishers plan to release titles as e-books as well as in print. According to one survey of U.S. publishers, almost 50 percent of respondents reported plans to distribute more than 75 percent of their titles as e-books in 2012.

E-books have found their place in the hearts of American bookworms – 30 percent of readers read at least one e-book in 2012. According to one survey, 17 percent of respondents reported having read an e-book on the day prior to the survey. The average U.S. e-book reader is a Caucasian woman between 30 and 49 years of age, a college graduate, and the owner of 38 digital books.

Libraries try to cater to readers’ needs. Overall, more than 75 percent of U.S. libraries offer e-books, and in urban areas that figure exceeds 92 percent. However, this fact has yet to be effectively communicated to library patrons, as 57 percent do not know whether or not their libraries offer such services. Among those who are aware (31 percent), two thirds describe the selection offered as being at least “good.” Only 22 percent reported having borrowed or downloaded an e-book from a library.

Photo: Wikimiedia/cc, Icarusreader; sxc.hu / kylpyamme

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