Using your eyes to read books? That’s so 2015, according to a new report that says audiobooks are becoming more and more popular while e-book sales have started to slide.
Even while sales of paperback books are up and independent bookstores are doing well again, a new report shows that publishers had a bit of a rough first quarter of 2016, the New York Times reports. Revenue dipped 2.7% in that time period compared to the same months in 2015, the Association of American Publishers said in its new report.
E-books might have something to do with that slide, as sales fell by 21.8% in the quarter. Digital audiobooks squashed everyone else in the book game, with sales rising by 35.3%. Paperback sales also contributed sales gains with an increase of 6.1% over the first quarter of 2015.
It might not be as dire as it sounds, the NYT points out, as the first quarter of the year is often a slow one: many publishers save their big books for the summer (vacation reading) or the fall (holiday shopping).
That being said, the e-book slide is likely to continue to publishers’ woes, according to Michael Cader, a book industry analyst and the creator of Publishers Marketplace who weighed in on the issue with the NYT. That’s because despite the fact that e-books cost basically nothing to produce and zero to ship, publishers have raised prices on the digital materials after negotiating with Amazon and gaining the ability to set their own prices.
Audiobooks Turn More Readers Into Listeners as E-Books Slip [The New York Times]