Here’s a happy shocker: 44 percent of romance novels purchased are ebooks. That’s up from 22 percent the previous year. Yep. Ebook romance sales doubled from the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012. That 44 percent compares to the total book market ebook sales of 26 percent.
Romance readers are buying more and more books in ebook format. Twenty-nine percent of romances were purchased as mass market paperbacks, 17 percent as trade paperbacks, 8 percent in hardcover, 1 percent audio, and 1 percent “other bindings.” (Have no idea what that would be).
This information comes from the Romance Writers of America “2011 ROM Stat Report” published in the November RWR, the romance writing organization’s monthly magazine.
That cheer you hear is coming from me, because I’m an ebook-published erotic romance author, and I also like to be right. I predict that ebooks will soon become the format in which books are read, period. Print books are dinosaurs in a mammal world. Print books will become of the stuff of collections and will be used the way some people still acquire and listen to LPs. (If you don’t know what an LP is, you’re proving my point). But every day, mass market reading? Ebooks!
The “ROM Stat Report” also noted that while ebook sales have increased and romance fiction revenue increased (from $1.355 billion in 2010 to $1.368 billion), overall publishing revenue decreased from $10.11 billion in 2010 to $9.585 in 2011. I’d like to offer a hypothesis. Ebooks are generally priced lower than print books. (For instance, Spanked!, one of my books, sells for $10.99 in print and $5.99 as an ebook). So as more readers switch to ebooks, sales revenue will drop until readers start buying more to make up for the lower cover price. I think that’s why romance sales have increased. Romance readers are avid ones and I think they’re buying more because ebooks are so much cheaper.
Here are a few more stats from the article I found interesting:
- Half of romance buyers are between 30-54 years old
- 31 percent almost always read romance; 44 percent read romance frequently; 25 percent are occasional readers
- 94 percent of romance buyers read ebooks
- Ebooks are being read on Kindle, 41 percent; Kindle Fire 13 percent; Nook, 16 percent; and iPad 10 percent.
- 25 percent buy from Amazon; 19 percent from other ecommerce sites ; 13 percent from Walmart; 11 percent Barnes and Noble (but only 4 percent from BN.com ); book clubs 11 percent; and ebook download sites 10 percent.
I’d like to circle back and end with a prediction. Ebooks account for 44 percent of all romance sales. A combination of all print and audio versions account for 56 percent, so print romance is still outselling ebook romances. I predict that by next year, however, ebook romances will outsell all print versions combined.