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E-book sales jump at the start of 2011

At the same time, sales of hardcover and paperback books continue to drop.

By Christine Kearney, Reuters / March 18, 2011

E-book sales continue to climb as more readers switch from physical books to virtual ones.

Mark Lennihan/AP

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Sales of electronic books in January increased by more than 115 percent compared to the same time the year before, a report released by the Association of American Publishers said on Thursday. According to the report released by the trade association, e-book net sales increased to $69.9 million compared to $32.4 million in January, 2010, continuing the rapidly rising demand for electronic books while sales of hardcover and paperback books continued to fall.

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Sweeping technological changes have worried the book industry as it grapples with e-readers and tablets such as the iPad introduced into the publishing market as overall U.S. book sales have declined. Adult hardcover sales fell from $55.4 million in January 2010 to $49.1 million in 2011, while adult paperback sales decreased 30 percent in the same period, according to the AAP.

But sales in the higher-education category held relatively steady, dropping only slightly to $382 million for January, 2011 from $387.6 million for the same period the year before.

Edited by Bob Tourtellotte, Bernard Orr

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