In adult books, the growth came from trade paperbacks (e.g. 50 Shades) and ebooks. Consistent with Barnes & Noble's recent report and the trend we have been underscoring all year, however, ebook sales continue to grow at a far slower rate: Adult ebook sales of $118.6 million were up 34 percent from a year ago, and children's ebooks comprised another $13.3 million, the lowest monthly total since April. (For the year so far, ebooks are up 51 percent compared to 2011.)
That diminished ebook growth lowered digital books to 23.5 percent of all trade sales for August, though ebooks still accounted for 28 percent of adult trade sales in the month.
Among the month's oddities, net mass market sales actually rose 17 percent to $42.3 million, though that was due to lower returns rather than higher shipments. Much the same can be said of adult sales overall for the year so far; gross shipments through August are up only 1.5 percent--but net sales are doing much better, up 10.4 percent, because of cleaner sales, without returns from Borders, and with more firm sale ebook dollars.