Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Friday, October 15, 2010

E-book sales up 193% This Year... So Far

Print book sales are down, but e-book sales are up 193% this year... and the year's not over. Those are the numbers from 14 publishers, and don't count the explosion of e-books from authors who have figured out that they don't need publishers much any more.

If you want the full picture, the press release is here; it's filled with interesting numbers. Such as that e-books make up 9% of trade sales for these publishers... doesn't sound like much until you realize it was 3% last year. As tablets and e-readers continue to sell in big numbers (54 million tablets are forecast for 2011, not even counting e-readers), that growth rate should continue.

The interesting question is whether the dedicated e-book reader can survive; some don't think so. I think the tablets will crush them in a few years, the way smartphones crushed PDAs. As the price of tablets drops, there's less room for the dedicated e-reader to survive. Once you have a tablet, the e-reader is an extra device. I expect tablets to drop into the $300 range by the end of 2011 as fierce competition rages. But it really doesn't matter to the publishing industry which device wins.

A little simple math based on the sales numbers above will show you that in a few years the publishing industry will be transformed... book stores, distributors, publishers, and authors too. One thing you can be sure of: Business as usual will not be the order of the day.


  1. Much as ipods continue to survive in the era of iphones, I think dedicated e-readers will survive in the era of tablets. For one reason, e-readers will continue to be cheaper than tablets, I expect Amazon to give Kindles away with the purchase of a couple of e-books one day soon. Plus, e-readers have a lot of advantages over tablets: light weight, long battery life, easy to read screen, etc. If the e-reader is cheap enough, people can have both reader and tablet.

  2. Much depends on the pricing; it would be tough to beat a free e-reader. Amazon doesn't care so much, though, what platform people are buying books on; they've put Kindle software on iPads and other devices. Which may lessen their desire to give e-readers away. Some of Amazon's competitors may certainly try that tactic, though.

    If tablet prices stay high that leaves room for the e-readers to stick around. It will be interesting to watch this unfold.