13 Important Book Sales Statistics (And Trends) That You Should Know About

By William Aug 17, 2023

Statistics about book sales can be very helpful if you’re planning to get involved in this industry. Selling books can be a very good source of passive income, as you don’t really need to continuously work in order to get more money.

For example, if you sell books on Amazon, you can realistically automate most of the process once you set everything up properly. Trends about book sales are very important, as you can use it to your advantage in order to piggyback on them.

The problem is that it’s not so easy to get reliable information online. That’s why we decided to compile this ultimate list about book sales statistics and trends.

So, if you’re here to find out good information about the book selling business, you’re in the right place! By the end of this article, you will be able to apply this information in order to build a profitable book selling business.(1)

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As mentioned above, whenever you’re planning to enter a business, you need to gather as much information as possible.

In case you don’t do that, you will struggle making sales and you will run out of money. Some of the most important pieces of information you need to know are stats.(2)

You need to have your numbers right in order to build a profitable business. So, without further ado, let’s jump straight into the book sales statistics and trends.

You’ve surely noticed this trend. Everyone seems to be interested in podcasts and audio content.

Mainly because people are getting lazier and their average attention span is about 12 seconds. Therefore, audio content is the easiest to digest because you don’t need to put much effort.(3)

Audiobook sales increased by 16% in 020, generating over $1.6 Billion in revenue.
Over 91% of audiobooks are sold in digital format. Considering the domination of Amazon, this is completely logical.
The most popular genres in terms of audio content are Mystery and Thriller.
Audiobooks shouldn’t be neglected if you want to build a profitable business in this industry. Tre trends clearly show that there has been a rise in terms of audio content.(4,5,6)

Also, it is undeniable that the best way to sell audiobooks is inside a sales funnel, as these tend to convert the best. There are a lot of high quality tools like Kartra that can help you automate this process.

Ebooks seem like a very common way people consume information. Everyone on the public transport seem to own a Kindle, and it looks like this is an upward trend.

However, there are a couple of stats that might surprise you.

In the United States, book sales added up to $26 Billion in 2020. If this number surprises you, you’re not the only one. In the age of technology, it seems like people prefer watching Netflix in stead of reading, so this stat might be a bit shocking.
What is more shocking is that out of those $26 Billion, only $2.4 Billion came from e-book sales. The rest of $22.6 Billion came from physical books.
Back in 2019, physical books sales made up a whopping 85.7% of all sales for the year.
As you can see, the e-books are not as possible as you might have thought. People still prefer owning a physical book and keeping it in their library.

In my opinion, that’s because most of the people who buy books are from the older generations. The younger people usually don’t care so much about acquiring information in this way.(7,8,9)

Younger generations prefer watching videos on YouTube and listening to podcast. Therefore, in case you want to build a business where you sell physical books, your target audience might be people over 40 years old.

This is a very important thing to keep in mind, as if you were to run ads in order to sell those books, you will need to have the exact demographic of people who are most likely to make a purchase. Otherwise, you will waste your marketing budget.

Amazon is the biggest marketplace on the planet. Not just for books, but for anything.

Therefore, it’s important to know a couple of trends in terms of book sales from the Trillion Dollar Company.(10)

Books in the English language only 39% of the entire market share was sold on Amazon.
Amazon had 39% of the entire ebook market share in 2019.
In terms of audiobooks, Amazon has the biggest library, containing over 200.000 titles.
As you can see, Audible is your best bet when it comes to audiobook sales. However, in terms of physical books and e-books, Amazon has less than half of the market share.(11,12,13)

Meaning that you shouldn’t rely only on this platform. There are several other options to keep in mind like Powell Books or BookMooch.

In any business, you shouldn’t keep all your eggs in one basket. Otherwise, you might be left empty-handed!

In order to better understand what is trending in terms of book sales, we need to take a look at the most popular genres.

It makes no sense to invest your resources in a book that will simply not sell. For example, you could pay good money in order to publish a book in a genre that doesn’t have a large audience.

You need to go for the biggest markets, so that you can get a piece of the pie.(14,15,16)

The top 5 most popular book genres on Amazon are: Romance, Mystery, Religion, Fantasy and Horror.
The most popular e-book genres are: Business, Cooking, Self-Help and Biographies
Non fiction became more popular than fiction in 2020 in the young adults market.
Non fiction physical books are more popular than ebooks.
Some of these books trends and statistics might seem out of place. When it comes to information, we need to first look at the hard data.

If you just listen to people’s opinion, you might lose money in the long run. If that person doesn’t have any experience in the industry they’re talking about, it’s best to just ignore them.

In business, you need the right information and the right training.

So .. what’s next? How to you sell as many books as possible?

Well, you’ve surely heard that sales funnels are the best way to convert people. That’s absolutely true, as you can model other people’s successful funnels in order to get similar results.

Especially when it comes to books, sales funnel tend to be very efficient. For example, you can collect an email on the first page, sell them a physical copy on the second page and an audiobook on the last page.

By William

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