The Association of American Publishers (AAP) announced today in a press release that overall book sales were up in October. The increase is small -- 10.2% for the month and 4.1% for the year -- but mark an overall positive trend. Sales were also up in September, the AAP noted last month. The end of the year has been full of blockbusters, from Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" to Sarah Palin's memoir, and the hype over these books may have contributed to the rising sales.
The most significant area of gains, however, has been in eBooks. The AAP announced that year-to-date eBook sales for October were over $130 million -- a 180.7% increase from 2008. eBook sales now account for 3% of total trade sales, up from 1.13% last year. With the Kindle's rise in popularity and the increasing variety of options for eReaders, it's no surprise that the numbers have jumped so dramatically this year. And as we head into 2010, when eBook sales are sure to continue to rise exponentially, publishers will have to work out exactly how eBooks will fit into their current model.
Publishers have already started to take eBooks more seriously -- over the past week, a battle has been raging over whether publishers or authors should own eBook rights. There has also been much disagreement recently about when eBooks should be released (at the same time as hardcover or between the hardcover and paperback releases), as publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster announced late last month that they were planning on delaying eBook editions of new books.
How should publishers respond to the increase in eBook sales? Are they taking the right steps, or are they making some big mistakes? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.