E-books are the fastest-growing area of book sales, especially for youngsters

New data from the Association of American Publishers shows that a lot of y’all got e-readers over the holidays. Year-over-year, e-book sales have skyrocketed, especially for young adult and kids’ titles.

In January 2011, publishers sold 3.9 million children’s and young adults e-books. One year later, that monthly sales figure is up to a whopping 22.6 million.

For the older set, e-books are also showing huge growth, surging from 66.6 million e-books sold in January 2011 to 99.5 million sold in January 2012.

In fact, adult e-books are set to overtake adult paperbacks as the highest volume product for publishers in America. This past January, paperbacks outsold e-books by less than 6 million units; if e-book market growth continues, it will have far outpaced paperbacks to become the number-one category for U.S. publishers.

As it is, e-books accounted for 31.1 percent of all young adult, children’s, and adult book sales in January 2012, up from 24.8 percent in January 2011.

All in all, January 2012 was a good month for publishers, with overall sales up 27 percent and sales in the children’s/young adult category up 80.5 percent.

At VentureBeat HQ, we’re hardly surprised by these stats. We were watching the white-hot e-reader/tablet/hybrid gadgets market between last November and now, and what we saw completely backs up the e-book sales growth.

For example, we noted that tablet ownership doubled over the holidays — a feat that was in no small part due to the wild success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Shortly after Kindle Fire pre-sales began in September 2011, the company announced it was selling the device at a rate of one million units per week.

“Kindle Fire is the most successful product we’ve ever launched -– it’s the bestselling product across all of Amazon for 11 straight weeks; we’ve already sold millions of units, and we’re building millions more to meet the high demand,” said Dave Limp, Amazon’s Kindle-focused vice president, shortly before the January e-book sales began.

Top image courtesy of Catherine Murray, Shutterstock

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