There have been many reports saying that ebook sales are declining. According to PubTrack Digital book publishers sold 10 percent fewer ebooks in 2017 than in 2016. In the U.S., traditional publishers sold 162 million units in 2017 compared to 180 million units in the year before. Other reports like Neilsen’s pegged the decline even higher at 16 percent during the same period.
Some say that the market has seen the high water mark for ebook sales and this is the beginning of a long and inevitable decline. I think it is a sign of maturity coming to this market, but it is also an indication of how the big book publishers failed to understand the ebook market. The big five publishers raised their prices to $8.99 or more across the board in 2015. Meanwhile, the majority of small and independent publishers kept their prices around the $2.99 and $3.99 per ebook.
According to Neilsen, the big five’s share of the ebook market dropped 12 percent in 2016 and a further 13 percent in 2016. At the same time, small publishers and self-published authors’ market share rose 23 percent.
The market is changing, and the ebook buyer is very price sensitive.