Why are kids’ e-book sales surging? Partly because adults are reading them

New stats from the Association of American Publishers show that kids’ and young adult e-book sales grew by triple digits in February, while adult e-book sales appeared to flatten. But the AAP notes that’s partly due to the fact that so many adults are reading YA e-books like the “Hunger Games” trilogy.

Here’s 1,191 U.S. publishers’ net sales for February 2012, compared to February 2011:

[dataset id=”723647″]

Hunger Games is selling so well, in fact, that Scholastic (s SCHL) increased its earnings guidance this week. The movie was released March 23, so we’d expect to see even strong YA sales reflected in AAP’s March stats (which will be released next month).

The AAP notes that adult e-book growth in February 2012 appeared to slow (adult e-book sales were only 9.9 percent higher this February than last February) because February 2011 included “an unusual one-off retail revenue transaction” making sales that month “abnormally high.” The AAP was also collecting data from many, many fewer publishers last February (under 100 compared to 1,191 now) so it may indeed be true that adult e-book sales are flattening — but we’d need more than a month of data to deduce that.

Note that adult hardcovers sold well this February — a 25.5 percent increase over last year. And religious e-books continued to show strong growth, with those sales up 49.2 percent over last year, though the total sales are still relatively small at $7.6 million.