Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Is the Ebook Juggernaut Slowing ?

Ebook Sales Falling ?

Matthew Flamm, senior reporter for Crain’s New York Business, wrote the following article today, and, although I get the overall gist of it (I think), I’m left confused by parts of it 😦  

I interject questioning comments in the body of the text. I welcome informative comments to help me out.

E-book sales growth is slowing  by Matthew Flamm:

‘The Justice Department’s lawsuit charging publishers with conspiring to fix e-book prices isn’t the only headache the industry has right now. Insiders say there are concerns that the e-book juggernaut is slowing down.

“It’s not growing the way it was a year ago,” said an executive at a major publisher. “And Barnes & Noble is ordering fewer and fewer books.” Senior execs at the house had been counting on rapid growth in digital sales to make up for the expected erosion of physical book sales, and are now worried about meeting their projected budgets for the year.

In January—the most recent month for which numbers are available—e-book sales spiked 49%, to $100 million, compared with a year earlier, according to the Association of American Publishers. For all of 2011, e-book sales grew 117%, to $970 million. (John’s Note: So far so good)

It was expected that coming off a larger revenue base, the monthly percentage increases would grow smaller (Why? What does this mean?), but executives fear that sales are starting to plateau. Experts say the lower bar of entry for e-book publishing may be a factor (What lower bar of entry for ebooks? What exactly does he mean by this?). “Bigger publishers are starting to lose market share to independent publishers and self-publishers,” said consultant Jack Perry (Does this mean then that the ebook juggernaut is NOT slowing for indies and self-publishers?).’

What do you think ?

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  1. I certainly do not believe that the indies are currently hurting or are in danger of being hurt. What I am reading is that there seems a bit of concern that the large publishers can not simply charge what they believe the market will bear. Maybe because the market is changing.

    Comment by lezlewis — 04/16/2012 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

  2. i would tend to agree: consider the source of the article; Crain’s focusses on the big conglomerates and their business. As a niche publisher, admittedly getting in late to the e-book party, modest expectations and projections have been met with better than anticipated sales.

    Comment by Bern — 04/17/2012 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

  3. To answer some of your questions…

    * The reason why % would grow slower is pure math. When you have $100 then adding $10 is 10% increase but when you are $1000 then adding $10 the increase is only 1%. When your numbers are small then relatively small increases make a bigger impact.

    * Lower bar refers to “anyone” can put out an ebook with $0. Print has a high bar because generally a large initial investment is required. The self-publishing e-book boom is evidence of the “lower bar”

    * Losing to self-published authors is two fold…One there are enough successful authors doing this that they are now “real competition” to their titles – given the sheer volume of indies doing well (Amazon anounced there are more than 1,000 self-published selling more than 1,000 ebooks a month) it as if there was another HUGE publisher come on line and that makes it tougher for htem. Also…many traditionally published authors are attracted to the higher royalties of self-publishing and it is decreasingly difficult to get and maintain top talent.

    Comment by Michael J. Sullivan (@author_sullivan) — 04/18/2012 @ 7:20 am | Reply

    • Michael, Thanks for the informative input. The way you phrased it was suddenly enlightening 🙂

      Comment by gator1965 — 04/19/2012 @ 6:39 pm | Reply

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