Ebook/Ereader Growth

Ebook Growth Slows to Single Digits in U.S. in 2013

2 April 2014

From Digital Book World:

Say goodbye to the go-go years of fast-paced ebook growth — at least for now. Ebook growth, once in the triple and double digits, with no signs of abating, has slowed to a crawl in 2013.

According to the latest numbers from the Association of American Publishers, adult trade ebooks brought in $1.3 billion in revenue in 2013, up 3.8% from $1.25 billion in 2012. Ebooks now account for 27% of all adult trade sales, up from 23% in 2012.

Meanwhile, children’s ebooks fell considerably versus 2012, likely due to unfavorable comparisons because of the success that year of the Hunger Games series.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

PG says remember that the source of this data, The Association of American Publishers, doesn’t include all publishers and definitely doesn’t include ebook sales by indie authors. Since the data is self-reported, nobody knows if it’s any more accurate or comprehensive than those publishers’ royalty reports are.

Tim Waterstone ‘predicts e-book decline’

31 March 2014

From the BBC:

Tim Waterstone, the founder of the Waterstone’s book shop chain, has predicted that the “e-book revolution” will soon go into decline in the UK.

He told the Oxford Literary Festival printed books would remain popular for decades, the Daily Telegraph reported.

“E-books have developed a share of the market, of course they have,” he said.

“But every indication – certainly from America – shows the share is already in decline. The indications are that it will do exactly the same in the UK.”

For the first eight months of 2013, e-book sale were worth $800m in the US, down 5% on the same period the previous year, according to the Association of American Publishers.

Meanwhile, hardback book sales rose 11.5%.

. . . .

Mr Waterstone added: “The [physical] product is so strong, the interest in reading is so deeply rooted in the culture and human soul of this country that it is immovable.

“The traditional, physical book is hanging on. I’m absolutely sure we will be here in 40 years’ time.”

And from The Telegraph:

The so-called e-book “revolution” will soon go into decline, the founder of Waterstones has said, insisting that the traditional physical book is here to stay.

Tim Waterstone, who founded the bookshop chain in 1982, argued that the printed word was far from dead and Britain’s innate love of literature had made books one of the most successful consumer products ever.

He added that he had heard and read “more garbage about the strength of the e-book revolution than anything else I’ve known”.

. . . .

He joked that insiders were generally “apocalyptic” about the the book industry’s prospects but said he refused to believe the traditional physical book was under threat.

. . . .

Speaking about the longevity of the printed word, Mr Waterstone said: “Print on paper has lasted for centuries. It’s one of the most wonderful, really successful consumer products of all time.

“The book has probably had the strongest compound growth rate since the Second World War than any other consumer product. The compound growth rate since 1945 is around 5.2 per cent. Compound, right the way through to 2013.

“The product is so strong, the interest in reading is so deeply rooted in the culture and human soul of this country that it is immovable.”

Link to the rest at the BBC and The Telegraph and thanks to Joshua and many others for the tip.

Nielsen Books & Consumers survey shows UK ebook sales up 20 percent in 2013

24 March 2014

From TeleRead:

Research firm Nielsen has just released its Books & Consumers survey for the UK book market in 2013, and the data shows ebooks forging ahead against a marginal decline in overall purchases in Britain last year. According to the survey precis, last year saw “a 20% increase in e-book purchasing, with UK consumers buying an estimated 80 million e-books in 2013, with spending on this format reaching £300 million [$495 million] … E-books accounted for one in four consumer book purchases in 2013, up from one in five in 2012, with their share of spending rising to 14%. In Adult Fiction, the e-book share rose from one in three books bought in 2012, to over 40% of purchases in 2013.”

Yes, getting close to half of all adult fiction titles bought in the UK in 2013 were ebooks.

. . . .

Self-publishing also comes well out of the figures, although still only part of the overall upsurge in ebook sales. “Self-published books (including Amazon publishing and other ‘non-traditional’ forms of publishing),accounted for one-in-five e-books purchased in 2013, and 12% of spending on this format, with the self-published share higher for e-book Fiction than other categories in 2013,” Nielsen’s release continued.

Link to the rest at TeleRead

Amazon signs Brazil school textbook contract

19 March 2014

From The Bookseller:

Amazon has signed a contract to distribute textbooks to teachers across Brazil.

In a deal with the Brazil Ministry of Education, the online retailer will convert print books to digital and then “wirelessly distribute” them to teachers using its Whispercast technology.

More than 200 textbooks have already been distributed to hundreds of thousands of public high school teachers, via the Ministry of Education’s National Fund for Education Development.

Teachers are able to access the books through the free Kindle reading app, and to date more than 40m e-textbooks have been delivered.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

UK e-book purchases ‘up 20% in 2013′

19 March 2014

From The Bookseller:

E-book purchases in the UK rose by 20% in 2013, with self-published titles accounting for one-in-five sales.

The figures were revealed at Nielsen’s Books & Consumers Conference on One Birdcage Walk, London earlier today (19th March).

Steve Bohme, who conducts book research for Nielsen, revealed that readers spent £80m on e-books in the year of 2013 – an increase of 20% year-on-year, according to Nielsen market research.

. . . .

E-books accounted for one in four consumer book purchases, up from one in five a year earlier. One in five of those purchases were self-published titles, according to the research, representing 12% of the spending on e-books. Self-published fiction titles typically sold for much less than professionally published titles – at £2 – whereas mainstream fiction e-books typically sold between £3-4.99. “The rise in self-publishing meant that in 2013, the average price paid for fiction e-books dropped to around 60% of that paid for fiction paperbacks,” Bohme said.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

BookNet Canada’s Benchmark Study on Canadian Digital Publishing

19 March 2014
Comments Off

From Digital Book World:

Highlights from a new study by BookNet Canada on the Canadian digital publishing market:

– 90% of Canadian publishers are producing ebooks
– The remaining 10% plan to produce ebooks in the future or are in the process of doing so
– 19% of Canadian publishers have their full lists available as ebooks
– About a fifth of Canadian publishers have developed enhanced ebooks and about a fifth have produced at least one app

. . . .

– While the main sales channel for publishers in Canada is established ebook retailers, 12% reported getting the most revenue from direct sales channels

. . . .

When asked for the main reasons they chose to publish ebooks, the most popular response was to increase sales, followed closely by to improve accessibility and to meet customer demand. Only 15% cited “as a mechanism to lower costs” as a reason to produce ebooks. Almost half of all respondents have more than 50% of their active print titles available as ebooks, and just under one-fifth (19%) report that their full active list is also available digitally.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

Harlequin CEO Talks About Harlequin Results, Book Pricing and Self-Publishing

7 March 2014

From Digital Book World:

For the fourth straight year, romance book publisher Harlequin has posted revenue declines despite gains made by other large publishers. Romance readers have been early and enthusiastic adopters of ebooks, yet the company’s digital advances haven’t outpaced its print retreat.

So I took some time to talk with Harlequin CEO Craig Swinwood about the company’s results, how it has adapted to the rise of ebooks and self-publishing, and what the future holds for the publisher.

. . . .

Jeremy Greenfield: Has the rise of ebooks hurt your business?

Craig Swinwood: The market is dynamic, so things are connected. For us there’s a couple of issues around digital that were certainly advantageous for us early on but have become a variance in the past couple of years.

Romance readers were really the early risers on the digital adoption curve. They were the first to get excited about digital reading. So we had a pretty big uptick pretty quickly, particularly in back-list. We have thousands and thousands of titles that weren’t available to most readers because there was no space in physical retail for them. Digital allowed us to offer those titles.

. . . .

JG: One of the issues Harlequin is having that the company mentioned in its 2013 earnings report is pricing.

CS: E-tailers can discount whatever they want to discount, and they can discount all of our books and none of our books. It’s up to them. We’ve done everything we could to keep a level playing field for all of our stakeholders. When we look at the pricing of mass market paperbacks in the digital space compared to the discounting of new release hardcovers, obviously as a choice the mass market paperbacks didn’t seem to stand up very well when you can buy a new hardcover at the same price or lower. Because we are primarily mass market we didn’t fare as well as the competition during the holiday season and we lost share in the fourth quarter.

From a pricing standpoint, we were seeing digital pricing for new release hardcover and trade paperbooks at or below digital list price for mass market publications. Pricing is having an effect as far as choice goes. In the physical world, mass market paperback as a segment is half the size it was in 2008. Harlequin was overindexed in that segment.

. . . .

JG: One of the things that has impacted the publishing business as a whole but particularly the romance segment is the rise of self-publishing. How has Harlequin fared now that there is increased competition for content?

CS: The best way to respond to any amount of competition is to provide more value and better quality and I think we do that every day.

One of the things that self-publishing has had is a nimbleness to get to the market very quickly versus a traditional publishing cycle that we’re in. Because of that we started Carina Press five years ago which is our digital-first imprint and we’ve done incredibly well with that. It allows us to expand into different genres and test some things out. Self-publishing is an incubator for creativity. Some of those authors who favor self-publishing probably favor a certain amount of freedom of experimentation that they may not have had with a traditional publisher.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

PG says three cheers for freedom of experimentation and barf to overindexed buzzwords in any segment.

Why I’m No Longer Cautiously Optimistic about the Future of Publishing

24 February 2014

From NYT bestselling author and former writing professor, Dave Farland:

About five years ago I looked at the future of publishing and felt . . . deeply worried. The rise in the sale of e-readers heralded both opportunities and concerns. You see, there aren’t a lot of avid readers in the world. About 40 percent of the people in the US won’t read a book this year—or in any other year. About ten percent of the readers in the US buy half the books sold.

This means that with 300 million people in the US, only about 160 million of those people will buy a book each year, and only about 16 million people make up half of the audience for books. These 16 million are the hardcore readers, our “super readers.”

As authors, we rely upon those super readers who go through twenty or thirty books per month for instant sales when a new book comes out, along with word-of-mouth advertising.

So when I began to see sales of 4 million e-readers in a year, it sent up some danger signals.

. . . .

As an author in the traditional publishing world, I have a partner. My partner, my publisher, makes about 8% profit per year on his investments, on average. This means that if anything messes up the publishing world—so that all of his books take a 20% hit in the course of a year, the publisher’s revenues constrict. The publisher loses money.

. . . .

The first thing that goes when a publisher loses money is large print runs on books. With fewer books on the shelves, that means that I make less money. The next thing that goes is advertising budget. That means that books that might have been placed at the front of Barnes and Noble as part of “cooperative advertising campaigns” (that’s where the publisher pays a couple dollars extra in order to get some prime advertising space) now don’t get decent placement, so that the few copies that you do get on the shelves don’t sell as well. Then of course the publisher has heavier returns than expected, and so profits dip even more.

. . . .

The problem that I saw was quite simple: with the transition from paper books to e-readers, the publishers were going to be hurled into a downward spiral. For several years, as people transitioned to e-readers, the market for paper books would plummet, profits on paper books would diminish, and publishers would lose money.

. . . .

So for five years, a lot of us authors have been lying awake at night suffering from fever dreams. The real questions were, “How am I going to make a living in these changing markets? Will there be a paper book market in five years? Should I even continue to publish in the traditional markets? What retailers will be left standing? What is the path to success in e-publishing, where I won’t have a marketing department and editors to back me? Will the big publishers—who tend to lumber about like dinosaurs—be facile enough to leap into the new market and take over (thus putting an abrupt end to the careers of people who might be investing time and money into e-publishing)?”

. . . .

But 2014 brings something new. I’m no longer cautiously optimistic about the future of e-books and publishing: I’m wildly excited!

You see, big changes are coming. I don’t have time to go into tremendous detail here, but the future is looking good on every front.

. . . .

Whether Hugh [Howey's] research is off by ten percent, either high or low, really isn’t important. What is important is that when you look at his charts, you can see instantly that on any given day, the bestseller lists in e-books are dominated by independent authors.

That’s great news. It means that in the past five years, a new and more-lucrative market has opened up for authors. Not only that, with a bit of study and hard work, one can figure out how to excel in that market by doing such things as advertising through social media, setting proper price points, and so on.

. . . .

Whether you’re selling books in print or as e-books, I can now see a clear path to success.

A year ago I was struggling to stay cautiously optimistic. Right now, I’m deliriously excited.

Link to the rest at David Farland and thanks to Julia for the tip.

The book industry isn’t dying, it’s thriving with an ebook assist

16 February 2014

From Yahoo Finance:

Borders is long gone, Barnes & Noble  is on the ropes, and total sales at U.S. bookstores have fallen 22% over the past five years. Is every book lover’s nightmare coming true? Is the publishing industry somehow being destroyed by a combination of Amazon price cutting and a wave of Netflix watching, iPhone gaming and tweeting?

Definitely not, though you might come away with that ridiculously pessimistic view from some recent coverage trashing Amazon’s role in the industry. Actually, book sales have risen strongly since 2008, not coincidentally since ebooks came on the scene. There’s more than ever to read — thus people are reading more than ever.

But the true numbers are hard to nail down. Stick with me while we try to tease out the truth from imperfect market research (and I’ll be dealing only with the mainstream book market, not textbooks or religious books).

First of all, an increasing portion of sales has moved online, both for print books and, obviously, for ebooks, which are only sold that way. Including both online and physical sales, U.S. publishers had revenues of $15 billion in 2012, the most recently reported annual figure from the Association of American Publishers. That’s up 14% from 2008 – not bad. Dig a little deeper and you’ll see that, within the total, ebook sales rose from $68 million to $3 billion, what’s technically known as a gazillion percent increase. Absent ebooks, total print book sales did shrink about 8%.

. . . .

Overlooked and de-emphasized in these attacks on ebooks are the many ways big publishers have worked hard to destroy literature without Amazon’s help. To wit: overpaying huge advances for worthless books written by celebrities. Dumping vast quantities of best sellers in Walmarts and Costcos, where they’re sold at half price. Favoring the megachains for decades as they squeezed out the independent stores the publishers now champion against Amazon.

But like the Hollywood studios that resisted the VCR, which later saved them, publishers are being saved by the ebook. Ebooks made up 17% of sales at News Corp’s Harper Collins unit over the holidays, up from 14% last year and nothing five years ago. Ebooks hit 33% of sales at Lagardere’s Hachette Book Group and 23% at CBS’s Simon and Schuster.

Jeff Bezos has been saying for years that Amazon Kindle owners buy more books than they did before they owned the ereader. It makes sense, given that many people read more quickly on an ereader and the device’s wireless connection lets customers buy a new ebook as soon as they’ve finished the last one.

. . . .

Even the AAP numbers seriously underestimate the contribution of ebooks, because they don’t include the fast-growing, self-published ebook phenomenon. Big publishers obviously don’t have any sales data on self-publishers and Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other sellers don’t disclose aggregate data about self-published sales, so there’s little to go on.

The New York Times added special ebook sections to its famed best seller lists but ebooks published exclusively by one vendor (cough, Amazon, cough) “will be tracked at a future date.” Since Amazon is the reigning king of the self-published ebook, that makes the Times lists pretty useless for this exercise.

Checking the Amazon best seller lists provides an alternate view of reality.

Link to the rest at Yahoo Finance and thanks to Dana for the tip.

If I was in Charge of Nook Media

14 February 2014

From Good Ereader:

The Barnes and Noble Nook division is one of the most longstanding and successful brands in the e-reader and tablet sector. The bookseller jumped into the eBook revolution in 2009 with an online store and their own flagship device. Their first few devices sold like wildfire, but sales have tapered off with each subsequent release. Nook Media has been losing money each quarter for over a year and most of their executives in charge of books, hardware and accessories have all left the company. What if they hired me to run the show? Here is my game plan to turn Nook around.

. . . .

The average Barnes and Noble bookstore is around 26,000 square-feet in size. The Nook retail area, where devices are showcased are normally 1,000 sq ft, and larger stores have 2,000 sq ft.

This is a solid amount of space to showcase the Nook Glowlight, Nook HD and Nook HD+, which is the current generation lineup. Not to mention accessories, such as cases, and screen protectors.

The Nook display section has no consistency in overall design and customer experience. The flagship Union Square location looks way better than the store in Las Vegas. Once you start going to more rural bookstores, in smaller markets the Nook display section lacks. I have walked into bookstores and saw nothing more than a wooden table, with a blue sheet and stuff piled all over it.

If I was in charge of Nook Retail I would create a blueprint and template that all stores would have to abide by. I would mandate that all Nook areas would be close to the front entrance and by the window. It would feature a clean white overall design, with vibrant color coded areas where you would find devices, accessories and a Nook Kiosk. Having street traffic seeing a cool, hi-tech area would prompt them to come in the store. It is important to build a consistent experience, walking into a big store in New York, would be the same as walking into one in Seattle.

. . . .

The average Barnes and Noble bookstore does not have an army of employes. I have witnessed that many in the store wear different hats, whether its inventory, cash, restocking or helping customers. The people in the Nook area, often are not dedicated and feature a revolving cadre of characters. I would mandate that every store location needs 3 trained people for the Nook area, two of which are full time and another that works when one the core people are sick, or on vacation. There would be regional trainers who would be responsible for each State, and would bring people into that State’s flagship store for a week of training. They need to be Nook Certified.

. . . .

Barnes and Noble has a line of accessories for their line of tablets and e-readers, none of which are really compelling. Sure you have the ubiquitous cases, screen protectors, charging cables and even a pair of Nook headphones. They need to solve this situation to make the Barnes and Noble accessories line, more modern and current.

. . . .

If there was one oportonity that Barnes and Noble is missing, more than anything else, is the synergy between Nook Press and their bookstores. Nook Press is the companies self-publishing program and is a direct follow-up to PUBIT! The platform itself pales in comparison to competitors programs like Amazon and Kobo. Heck, UK authors cannot even use Nook Press to publish in the US and UK.

If i was in charge of Nook Press and displaced Teresa Horner the first thing I would do is partner up with a service like Ingram Lightning Source. US authors would be able to self-publish books digitally and make them available for the retail stores to purchase. Ingram basically runs a giant print on demand system, where authors can have copies of their books printed, if someone places an order. This method proves to be quite popular with competitors.

. . . .

I have been following the entire eBook and e-reader industry since one year after the original Kindle came out. I have seen many major booksellers go bankrupt, some taking chances, some taking none at all. The most squandered opportunity that Barnes and Noble has missed in the last five years is getting self-published titles in their store, from their own authors. Barnes and Noble sorely needs a self-publishing super-star to carry the torch and be a walking banner for their services. They cant do that without Nook Press POD.

Link to the rest at Good Ereader

PG says one of the consequences of a monopoly or near-monopoly position in an industry is that the monopolist becomes fat and slow. Defending its traditional turf against interlopers always seems to be Job One.

Barnes & Noble is an excellent example. It should have been in an ideal position to take advantage of the ebook/ereader technology surge, but it blew that chance.

Another takeaway from the Barnes & Noble Nook story for PG is what it says about the value of retail spaces vs. ecommerce spaces.

At least in the Barnes & Noble stores PG visited during the early days of Nook, the Nook kiosks had prime spots – the first thing you saw when you walked in the front door – and were staffed by at least one person. This was retail space that was formerly occupied by tables covered with books or big stacks of books – displays for which big publishers pay a lot of money.

One would think that space would provide a powerful advantage for Barnes & Noble to grab a huge share of people who regularly purchased books as Nook customers, but it didn’t work. Space on Amazon’s front page devoted to promoting Kindles worked much better.

We’ll never know how Nook would have fared if Barnes & Noble had pursued a more intelligent strategy and executed better on components like The Nook Book Store and international distribution, but the bookstore’s prime real estate didn’t seem to provide a meaningful competitive advantage. If Kindle vs. Nook is not already a business school case study, PG suggests it will become one in the future.

Next Page »

Page optimized by WP Minify WordPress Plugin