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Double-Digit Ebook Sales Lift Adult Trade Market; Steep Drop in Children’s/Young Adult Sales Attributed to Hunger Games Fall-Off

Sales of adult ebooks continue to rise rapidly, according to new figures from the Association of American Publishers. In the first quarter of this year, sales of adult ebooks totaled $328.2, up 13.6% from the same time in 2012, making the category the largest measured in the organization’s StatShot report. Sales of children’s and young adult books in print and digital form dropped nearly 25% compared to last year, when, as Galley Cat points outThe Hunger Games was in movie theaters, spurring sales of the series’ books.

The increase in adult ebook sales, while modest compared to the growth shown in some previous reports, allowed overall adult trade sales to tick up 3.3% despite lackluster demand for print books.  Hardcover sales were flat at  $226.5 million, trade paperback sales rose less than 2% to $306.6 million and mass market paperback sales dropped 14.6%, to $89.9 million.

All figures are based on sales by 1,192 publishers who report to the AAP.

Publishers Weekly has more, including stats on audiobook sales (related story: Amazon and the Growing Audiobook Market), which continued to grow strongly as it shifts rapidly from physical media (CDs and tapes) to downloadable digital delivery:

Downloaded audio had a good quarter with sales up 14.4% to $28.3 million, more than double the $13 million in physical audio sales in the quarter, which fell 7.5%.

Mediabistro’s Galley Cat blog focused on the decline in sales of books for children and YA readers, which fell about a quarter after spiking last year on the strength of The Hunger Games.