The Association of American Publishers released its quarterly data on publisher revenue today. In the first quarter of 2018, publishers (roughly 1,100 of them represented by AAP reporting) saw a 3.2% decrease of e-book revenue when compared to the same period in 2017.
It’s a well-told story at this point, that’s often mirrored by the success of audiobooks. In the first quarter of 2018, downloaded audio revenues increased by 32.1% compared to the first quarter of 2017. Physical audio, however, declined by 3.6%–something that’s unsurprising considering the formats of physical audiobooks: CDs and tapes.
That sort of inverse relationship, between the physical and the digital, is one that was expected of the book market. As e-books improved in functionality, many in the industry expected to see interest in physical books wane. Maybe that’s because physical books smell so good, perfumers are scrambling to bottle the scent.