Implications of latest statistical report from America on e-books for library lending ….

The Association of American Publishers recently released its latest data report, which reveals that in the first three months of 2017 e-book sales dropped 7.5% from the same period last year.  First-quarter e-book sales were down 2.5% and 36.6% in the adult and children’s/young adult categories, respectively, according to figures in AAP’s StatShot programme. With sales of hardcover and paperback also down, first quarter sales in the children’s/YA category fell 15.9%.

For adult books, the decline in e-book sales was offset by increases in paperback and audiobook and sales for the entire category rose 3.4% in the quarter.

The news about e-book sales, although at this stage it may only represent a statistical ‘blip’, may be causing some publishers to review the terms of selling e-books to libraries.  Over the past year, many have engaged in inventive experiments by setting up library e-book projects. Experience now suggests that although some of these pilot projects are very effective when publishers and libraries want to promote a few titles in tandem, issues of cost (on both sides) are making a more comprehensive approach difficult.  New business models now need to be explored.  And the question of whether library lending is jeopardising sales has again reared its head.

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