For the first time in recorded human history, the highest selling format for books isn’t paperbacks or even hardcovers, but E-Books. Thanks to devices such as the iPad, Kindle and newly upgraded Nook Color, more and more of these gadgets are invading the marketplace and convincing people to buy their books in the digital format.
E-Book sales totaled $90.3 million in February 2011, up over 200% from February 2010. That’s a very large increase in case you couldn’t tell. Since that time, iPads have been released, Kindles and Nooks have been upgraded and even just walking around you see more and more e-readers.
While this data comes from publishers and not the outlets selling the books themselves, that’s not necessarily a question on the data as companies like Barnes & Noble and Amazon would love to tout those numbers themselves as they’re the ones championing the sale of e-books to their consumers, not the publishers. Amazon reported similar data though back in January which really isn’t surprising since their website seems to show off the Kindle more than any other product and, according to their own press, is the highest selling item on Amazon.
This could spell the end of traditional bookstore as was the case with Borders and could soon send Barnes & Noble to just an online Nook store similar to Amazon. There doesn’t seem to be nearly enough of a market, especially in this economy, for traditional paperback and hardcover books and the traditional stores must find a way to adapt. Otherwise, it’s just going to be Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad and iBooks vs. Sony’s e-reader with all physical stores falling by the wayside.