In May—for the first time in more than two years—trade publishers' sales of e-books rose over the comparable month in the prior year, the Association of American Publishers reported.
E-book sales from the trade houses rose 2.4% in May 2017 over May 2016, the first time the format posted a monthly gain over the comparable year since March 2015.
The e-book increase was led by a 3.4% gain in sales of adult e-books, which offset a 3.2% decline in the children's/young adult segment and a 9.4% decline in the religion category.
Even with the May gain, sales of the format in the adult trade segment were down 2.9% in the January-to-May period, compared to the same time in 2016.
For the adult segment overall, sales in the first five months of 2017 were up 1.6%. Downloadable audio continued to be the hottest format in adult, with sales up 26.1% in the first five months of 2017 over 2016. Hardcover sales were ahead 8.8%. The weakest performer in the first five months of 2017 in the adult category was mass market paperback where sales were down 16.0%
Sales for all 1,204 publishers who report data to AAP's StatShot program rose 4.6% in May, over 2016, and 4.3% in the first five months of the year of the, compared to the same period in 2016.