Recently, I read this quotation in my Authors Guild Bulletin that came out this past summer. (Yes, I'm behind on reading my professional publications.)
"By the end of 2012, digital books will be 20-25% of unit sales, and that's on the conservative side. Add in another 25% of units sold online, and roughly half of all unit sales will be on the Internet." Mike Shatzkin, CEO of Idea Logical Company, said that in the Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2010.
Digital Sales: Estimates Too Low
Methinks Mr. Shatzkin is seriously undervaluing the growing popularity of eBooks. In the 2009 Association of American Ppublishers report showed that sales of eBooks had surpassed audio book sales. In fact, the eBook sales were up 176.6%.
Then, in the 2010 report, Audio Books rebounded, but in the Downloaded category. Those increased 4.6 percent over 2009, but the physical Audio Book sales continued to fall.
The eBook sales for January-August 2010 represented $263 million, compared to $89.8 million, shown in the January-August 2009 report I linked to in the previous paragraph. This was a 193% increase over the same period last year.
Extrapolating, in 2009, eBooks showed a 176.6% increase. In 2010, thus far, they show a 193% increase.
With the kind of growth exhibited by eBooks in the last 2 years, it's entirely possible that they alone may represent close to 50% of published books sales in 2 years.