Until recently ebooks seemed to be the future of book reading. Since their arrival in the 1990s their sales did not stop growing with many people in the publishing and printing industry predicting that within a few decades physical books would be regarded as something of the past. This idea was much bolstered not only by the advances in ebook reading devices such as the iPad and Kindle but also with the interest of Amazon, Apple and other major companies in this business.

Since 2005-06, however, the industry is not as bullish as it was. Until 2012 ebook sales continued to growth albeit at an ever slower pace and in 2013 the overall sales actually decreased, by 2,5%. Last year they increased again, marginally, but in the first half of this year things are quite murky again.

Following the agreement of Amazon – the most important book and ebook vendor worldwide – with major book publishers like Lagardere, Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster regarding the pricing of their ebooks, the Amazon prices of the ebooks of these publishers have increased and as a result of this, their ebook sales has dropped by over 20% compared with the same period in 2014. Amazon says that this drop has been balanced by ebook sales from smaller publishers and it still expects to close 2015 with “slight” positive growth rate in this area.

Meanwhile, paper book sales, seem to be in another orbit. According to Nielsen BookScan, paper sales last year went up by 2,4% and this year they are expected to grow between 3,0% and 4,0%.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Nielsen Company, and Geekwire.