In late January, Amazon.com
announced that for the first time, paperbacks were outsold by e-books at its site (hardbacks had been eclipsed six months before). On Thursday, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) made it official overall: e-books are now the most popular U.S. reading format.
According to the AAP's report on February 2011 sales, e-books saw triple-digit percentage growth, 202.3%, when compared to February of 2010. Audiobooks also increased, 36.7 percent compared to last February.
Some caveats in the report. AAP partially attributes the rise in e-book
sales in February to strong e-Book buying, or “loading,” by consumers who received e-book readers devices as holiday gifts. additionally, the report the expanded selection of both e-book readers and e-book titles as factors.
Another caveat: the AAP monthly and year-end sales report compiles data from 84 U.S. publishing houses representing major commercial, education, professional, scholarly and independents. Meanwhile, e-book data comes from only 16 publishing houses. The AAP admits its report "does not include all book and journal net sales, but provides what’s acknowledged as the best industry snapshot currently available."