September 16, 2003, 12:00 AM

Retailers post 30% rise in first-half e-book sales

Retailers posted $4.97 million in sales of e-books for the first of this year, a rise of 30% over the same period last year, the Open eBook Forum reports.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Retailers posted $4.97 million in sales of e-books for the first six months of this year, a rise of 30% over the same period last year, the Open eBook Forum reports. The sales recorded by retailers were in addition to $3.6 million in sales recorded in the first half by book publishers who sell direct to consumers and institutions. "Those of us in the industry have been seeing real signs of growth from every direction," said executive director Nick Bogaty.

 

Not all retailers are participating in the growth of e-book sales, however. Leading bookseller BarnesandNoble.com recently said it had stopped selling e-books because they had not sold as well as it had expected. "We believe there’s a market for e-books, but their sales didn’t live up to our expectations," a spokeswoman says.

 

Fictionwise.com, however, says it is experiencing explosive growth in e-books and expects to hit $1 million in e-book sales this year. "At the retail level, the e-book industry is not unlike the traditional print business of twenty years ago," said co-owner Scott Pendergrast. "Innovative companies who understand the medium and deliver added value to customers can carve out a healthy business."

 

E-books, which store book content on a computer memory card the size of a stick of gum, enable users to read a full-length books from a PDA or laptop.

 

The Open eBook Forum today released the following statistics about e-book growth:

 

For retailers:

-- Unit sales: A total of 660,991 e-books have been sold by retailers in the first half of 2003, a 40% increase over the same period in 2002, during which time 471,995 units were sold.

-- Number of titles available: The total number of e-books on sale has increased to 280,590 year-to-date, a 144% increase over the same period in 2002, during which time 114,736 were available.

-- Revenues: $4,965,171 in sales have been logged by retailers in the first half of 2003, a 30% increase over the same period in 2002 during which time retailers made $3,828,250 on sales of e-books.

For publishers:

-- Unit sales: A total of 620,277 e-books have been sold by publishers in the first half of 2003, a 60% increase over the same period of 2002, during which time 388,589 units were sold.

-- Number of titles published: The total number of e-books published year-to-date is 3,614, a 45% increase over the same period in 2002, during which time 2,485 titles were published.

-- Revenues: $3,637,046 in sales have been logged by publishers in the first half of 2003, a 29% increase over the same period in 2002 during which time publishers made $2,815,488 on sales of e-books.

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