Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

04/15/2012

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 ūüė¶¬†¬†

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.

‚ÄúIt’s not growing the way it was a year ago,‚ÄĚ said an executive at a major publisher. ‚ÄúAnd Barnes & Noble is ordering fewer and fewer books.‚ÄĚ 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‚ÄĒthe most recent month for which numbers are available‚ÄĒe-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?). ‚ÄúBigger publishers are starting to lose market share to independent publishers and self-publishers,‚ÄĚ 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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04/02/2011

Amazon Tries to Muscle into Traditional Book Publishing


Amazon Trying To Move On Traditional PublishingAmazon is trying to beef up its Kindle offerings¬†with new anticipated blockbusters…Itching to grow away from mostly backlist offerings (and these aren’t bad, mind you!).

Amazon’s first foray into traditional publishing came when they entered the bidding for Amanda Hocking’s four, self-published best-sellers in competition with other big houses…AND, even though¬†Amazon brought the highest bid, Amanda and her agent decided to go with St. Martin’s Press instead…due to traditional publishing reputation, stability,¬†depth and breadth, blah, blah, blah.

A¬†little publishing politics and intrigue here, I’m sure…For one thing, Amazon demanded ebook exclusivity rights in the deal and Amanda’s agent thought that represented a loss of potential revenue.¬†¬†¬†

More details provided in Crain’s New York Business.com by Matthew Flamm:¬†

Amazon.com pushes into book publishing

The online retailer recently participated in the auction for best-selling novelist Amanda Hocking, making its most aggressive move yet into traditional publishing territory.

Amazon.com, the online bookselling behemoth that has sometimes rubbed publishers the wrong way, has just put its big foot someplace new.

In its most aggressive move yet into territory traditionally occupied by the major New York houses, the Seattle-based e-retailer took part last week in a heated auction for four books by self-published bestselling novelist Amanda Hocking. Executives at several houses said they knew of no other instance in which the company had competed with major publishers for a high profile commercial author.

Amazon has done deals directly with authors and agents in the past, but usually for backlist titles or specialty projects. It has used those exclusive offerings to distinguish its Kindle e-bookstore in an increasingly competitive digital market.

It’s believed that Amazon would have seen Ms. Hocking as a natural fit because of her roots in the e-publishing world, where she has sold more than a million copies of her nine titles in the category of young adult paranormal romance.

An Amazon spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

To beef up its offer, Amazon brought in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which would have published the print editions of Ms. Hocking’s books, according to insiders. Part of a company that has gone through two debt restructurings in recent years, the venerable trade house would also have lent Amazon the aura of a traditional house.

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12/27/2010

U.S. Publishers Dove Deeper Into Digital in 2010


This year big house publishers have experimented with video ebooks and complex content, digitized their older titles and made their new publications available in both digital and print.

They are accepting and learning to utilize digital e-formats instead of fighting the new trending technology…And, that’s good if they want to adapt, survive and ultimately thrive again!

As a result of this digital acknowledgment, U.S. publishers’ profits are up and looking brighter.

This report by Julie Bosman of the New York Times through the Stateman.com, an Austin, Texas news site:

U.S. publishers expanded digital offerings in 2010

Industry embraces electronic books, sees big jump in sales, but hardcover concerns linger.

The publishing industry used to be afraid of electronic books. In 2010, it embraced them.

Publishers expanded their digital divisions, experimented with video-enhanced e-books, worked on digitizing their older titles and made sure new books were available simultaneously in e-book and hardcover editions.

Now, having laid the tracks for digital growth, they are waiting to see what their efforts will bring in 2011.

“Is it going to be cause for celebration because it takes us to another level and makes books accessible and popular in new ways?” said Anne Messitte, publisher of Vintage/Anchor, a division of Random House. “Or will the story be different?”

E-books now make up 9 to 10 percent of trade-book sales, a rate that grew hugely this year after accounting for less than half that percentage by the end of last year. Publishers are predicting that digital sales will be 50 percent higher or even double in 2011 what they were in 2010.

January could be the biggest month ever for e-book sales, as possibly hundreds of thousands of people download books on the e-readers that they receive as Christmas gifts.

The anticipation of that jump in sales, and a feeling that the recession might have loosened its grip, has dissipated some of the death-of-print malaise that has lingered in the publishing industry for years ‚ÄĒ and helped soften the blow of a significant drop in hardcover sales this year.

“There’s definitely less doom and gloom,” said Peter Ginna, publisher and editorial director for Bloomsbury Press. “Most of us publishers have seen big gains from electronic books this year. We’ve seen some tailing off of the print sales, but for most companies, the growth of e-books has been so great that there’s a lot of revenue coming from that side that’s sort of gravy for us.”

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