Monday, July 19, 2010

So this is How the Dinosaurs Died, Part 4

Remember when I said I thought that e-book sales could approach twenty percent of total book sales before the new year? That was way back on June 6.

Just in case you happened to miss this insightful piece of bloggery and don't feel like reading the whole thing via the link above, one of the more prescient observations I made was, "Is twenty percent of total sales likely by the end of this year? I say it's not just likely, it's inevitable."

Well, from today's New York Times Technology section comes the news that over the previous three-month period, reports it has sold 143 books for the Kindle e-book reader for every 100 hardcover books sold. Furthermore, "The pace is quickening...In the last four weeks sales rose to 180 digital books sold for every 100 hardcover copies."

The growth in e-book sales continues to rise exponentially, too. Last year sales of e-books increased three hundred percent over the previous year's numbers, and if you think that represents a pace that cannot be maintained, you could not be more wrong. According to the New York Times piece, the Association of American Publishers says e-book sales are up four hundred percent over last year's pace through May.

Granted, these comparisons are only for e-book sales in comparison with hardcover sales. Nowhere in the report are comparisons made to paperback sales, which are still "thought to outnumber e-books." Fair enough.

But for how long? E-books and e-book readers are here to stay and soon - much sooner than anyone would have thought even two years ago - will represent the vast majority of book sales in the publishing industry. "Mike Shatzkin, founder and chief executive of the Idea Logical Company, which advises book publishers on digital change...predicts that within a decade, fewer than 25 percent of all books sold will be print versions."

I think I might have been wrong in that insightful June 6 post. E-book sales totals by the end of the year may not represent twenty percent of all book sales. The total might just be higher.

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