From Publishers Weekly:
It is rare that an industry would see the declining growth rate of its fastest-growing product as anything but bad news. But many in the book business see the slowdown in the sale of e-books as a positive.
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The positive side of slowing e-book sales is that the decline of print books has slowed, prompting many of those interviewed to hope that the industry is entering a more stable and predictable period, one that will lead to a wide number of distribution channels to facilitate book sales regardless of format. While noting that Perseus Books Group is prepared to meet consumer demand for books, no matter the format, company CEO David Steinberger observed: “A healthy, diverse marketplace with multiple format, price point, and channel choices for the consumer is generally a positive for readers, authors, and publishers overall.”
The slowing e-book sales increase of 2013 (up 5% in the first six months of the year over the same period in 2012, according to AAP’s StatShot report; sales rose 44% for all of 2012) can be traced to a couple of factors. Growth in 2012 was in part fueled by the phenomenal e-book sales of the Fifty Shades and Hunger Game trilogies, and no blockbuster of similar scope appeared in the first half of 2013. Then there are the reduced sales gains made by digital reading devices. Although the tablet market has exploded, sales of dedicated reading devices have slowed. Research conducted by the Codex Group found that consumers who use tablets to read e-books buy fewer titles than those who use dedicated e-readers such as Kindle Paperwhites or Nook GlowLights.
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What the data indicate to most industry players is that e-books have become another format, much like audiobooks and paperbacks. A more stable and rational hybrid market is one publishers could live with, and it is certainly one that would keep bricks-and mortar stores a viable channel for the industry. ABA CEO Oren Teicher said he has always thought that the predictions of digital domination were overblown. Teicher said much like television and the movies have complemented one another, he sees print and digital books living side by side. Teicher notes that one thing publishers and booksellers have learned since the debut of e-books is that certain genres sell better as e-books than others, a fact that he said booksellers need to take into account when deciding what books to sell. Sourcebooks CEO Dominique Raccah said that she hopes the decline in the e-book growth rate will give bricks-and-mortar retailers the confidence to invest in the categories that seem certain to sell best in print.
Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly