Publisher’s Weekly recently published this article on book sales that comes from Nielsen data. It appears that self-published and indie press e-books are taking more market share in the book world while traditionally published e-books are losing sales. The article states “the Big Five’s share of e-book sales last year … went from 38% in 2014 to 34% in 2015 (in 2012, the Big Five accounted for 46% of unit e-book sales). Self-publishers’ share of e-book sales rose to 12% last year from 8% in 2014 and from 5% in 2012. Small publishers’ e-book share, meanwhile, rose to 30% in 2015 from 26% in 2014 and 14% in 2012.”
The loss of traditionally published e-book sales may be offset by the rise in print sales, however, and more than half of certain genre book sales are still sold as e-books. According to the article, “the [e-book] format fell to a 24% share of total books sold in 2015, down from 27% in 2014. E-books nevertheless had large market shares in certain categories, with Nielsen reporting that 60% of romance unit sales were for e-books; the format also accounted for 51% of unit sales of mysteries and thrillers.”
While it has interesting information, the graphic and the first part of the article are a little misleading – as most statistics are when reported by media outlets these days. If you only read the headline and look at the chart, it appears that it covers the entire book market but it is referring only to traditionally published print and e-books. It is not until much later in the article that self-published and indie published books are discussed.