E-Readers Are Cool

That’s right, E-readers were the gift of gifts this holidays. Now the Pew Institute have crunched the numbers to look at who was buying them and how this has changed over time. Report here.

The researchers performed phone interviews with 2,986 people and asked them, “Are you cool enough to own the greatest gadget since Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone?” With an error rate of 2.2%, the results were as follows:

  • E-readers and tablets were owned by 10% of people in December 2011.
    • This was 19% in January 2012.
  • The proportion of people owning at least one of these two increased from 18% to 29%.
  • Tablet owners are likely to be under 50 years old and have graduated college.
    • They are also likely to make enough money to buy lots of apps and books.
  • E-readers are more popular with women and the 30-49 age group.
    • E-readers are still pretty popular with anyone under 65.
  • College graduates and rich folks also love E-readers.
  • You should own an E-reader.

I have my E-reader, the new Kindle. I still love my pile of dead tree books, but I also love my Kindle.

My Kindle and a DTB

An Update – Publishing Figures

I posted a few days ago about how publishing houses had had a fairly good year. All the publishers who had embraced e-books had seen an increase in profits and were probably uncorking some champagne and planning a big Xmas party to celebrate. Jill in accounting was probably going to receive a bonus as well.

The sales figures were released a week or so ago for the third quarter of this year, or is that first quarter of the financial year, and why is that different from a normal year; just to be different or annoying? E-books appear to be continuing to replace the mass market paperback, which makes sense. Given the publisher’s bottom lines and these market indicators, we could see a speed up in the push for e-books by the major players in the industry. It might also be whining time for bookstores, well, more-so.


Mass Market Paperback Sales Down 54%

By Jason Boog on December 1, 2011 3:47 PM

According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP) net sales revenue report for September 2011, the adult mass paperback category declined 54 percent (to $31 million) in September compared to the same period last year.
At the same time, adult hardcover sales dropped 18 percent (to $148.3) while eBook sales doubled to $80.3 million. Above, we’ve embedded the AAP’s sales chart.
Here’s more: “With September also being the start of the 2011-2012 academic year, Higher Education showed a nearly 9% gain in net revenue vs September 2010. Additionally, there was significant growth in the category of Professional Books (in the Professional and Scholarly Publishing division) in September, increasing nearly 13% … The September report represents data provided by 80 US publishers and is produced by the Association of American Publishers.”

Books are dead. Just kidding.

The report of my death was an exaggeration – Mark Twain


You know, there is nothing better than media speculators. Any possible change in an industry, government, or price of coffee and they suddenly start predicting the end of the world. Some changes, like any Apple product, are welcomed with open advertising arms, other changes, like e-books, are threatening jobs.

So how did the publishers fare this year? They lost major stores (Borders, REDGroup), had a decrease in stocking at big box stores, and had the market flooded with a slush pile. Turns out they did pretty well.

That’s right, e-books are more profitable and have generally replaced the paperback sales decline. Who’d have thought that people who enjoy reading wouldn’t suddenly stop reading? Did not see that one coming.

Book sales: told ya!

There is nothing better than to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women. The other thing that is quite nice is to be right.

In fairness a lot of people were right. Konrath has been saying for years that e-books will replace DTB (dead tree books). I posted a prediction here about what the market will look like by the end of the decade. I said that e-books would win. Guess what: they are starting their winning streak.

The figures are in for the publishing industry (source: Association of American Publishers). The year to date shows strong growth in e-book revenue, declines in anything you can’t download, and that there is a growing market for Christian fiction. Maybe I should write a Christian thriller, with Jesus as the central protagonist, a man who had been forsook, turned to alcohol (well it starts out as water), and investigates paranormal phenomena in the wake of his death. I smell best-seller!

Something that jumps right out at me with these figures is that numbers don’t jump. The other thing is that e-books have essentially replaced the other mediums (if you ignore kids books). E-books have grown from 7% to 18% in 12 months – I hate the 144% figure as it is misleading, I’ve always preferred quoting figures as a proportion of the total. The change in kids books then accounts for the decline in the industry of $100 million.

E-books are doing very well.

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