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Old 11-17-2013, 02:43 PM   #1
charmian
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"A Mixed Blessing in Slowing E-book Sales"

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/b...-blessing.html

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The slowing e-book sales increase of 2013 (up 5% in the first six months of the year over the same period in 2012, according to AAP’s StatShot report; sales rose 44% for all of 2012) can be traced to a couple of factors. Growth in 2012 was in part fueled by the phenomenal e-book sales of the Fifty Shades and Hunger Game trilogies, and no blockbuster of similar scope appeared in the first half of 2013. Then there are the reduced sales gains made by digital reading devices. Although the tablet market has exploded, sales of dedicated reading devices have slowed. Research conducted by the Codex Group found that consumers who use tablets to read e-books buy fewer titles than those who use dedicated e-readers such as Kindle Paperwhites or Nook GlowLights. Additional research by Codex found that tablet users buy about one-third of their titles in e-book format and two-thirds in print; consumers who own both tablets and dedicated e-readers tend to split their book purchases evenly between print and digital, Codex CEO Peter Hildick-Smith said. And the growing use of tablets to read books has led to another drag on e-book buying—tablet users spend less time reading on their devices than those who use dedicated e-readers. Taking those trends into account, Hildick-Smith predicted that the one-third/two-thirds split between digital and print sales will remain in place for a few years, adding, “The chapter of incredible growth has wound down.”

Last edited by poohbear_nc; 11-17-2013 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 11-17-2013, 04:29 PM   #2
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A lot of wishful thinking in there. The numbers they are embracing only encompass the sales of traditional publishers and doesn't factor in indie sales. Or the proven seasonality of the business.
But if it lets them sleep better at night to dream of sugarplums and stability on current terms, so be it. But sooner or later dreams end and the wakeup calls are often jarring...
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Old 11-17-2013, 04:33 PM   #3
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I read the article and found it a bit baffling in some respects. How could people who read on tablets buying 1/3 of their books as ebooks actually hurt ebook sales? Did they all buy more ebooks before getting a tablet?

Maintaining a 44% increase and increasing it by 5% seems pretty phenomenal to me as well.

Oh well

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Old 11-17-2013, 04:35 PM   #4
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Submitted for consideration:http://www.the-digital-reader.com/20...ales-hachette/

Have at it.

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Ask anyone 6674163381_f541b306f9[1]from DBW to Nick Carr to the BISG and they’ll insist that the ebook market is leveling out here in the US, but something tells me that the major publishers didn’t get the memo.

Two different major publishers have reported in the past couple days that their ebook revenues have increased in the past quarter, and I would say that tends to cast a lot of doubt on the idea that ebooks have leveled off.
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Old 11-17-2013, 04:59 PM   #5
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Yeah, I find that the numbers post Christmas 2013 are going to be far more relevant.

However, isn't the real question not the percentage of ebook growth, but the revenue of physical bookstores? If the "pie" is growing, it is possible for bookstore revenue to remain stable even if the percentage of digital sales grows; similarly, if the "pie" is shrinking in general, Does anyone have any information on physical bookstore revenue, or on the share of online physical book sales v. brick & mortar physical book sales?

The other thing I find strange is that they predict "several years" of stability. Why do they think this period of stability will end?
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:30 PM   #6
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My own personal ebook buying habits have changed, perhaps others have changed as well. When I first got my Kindle, I went on some buying binges. I now have a backlog of a couple hundred ebooks. I'm buying very few lately, only when they drop to a really low price, like under $3. And I check to see if they are available from the library before hitting the buy button.

I'd be curious to see how ebook lending at the library is coming along in terms of numbers. I'd bet I'm not the only one who is getting a majority of their new ebook titles from the library.
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by charmian View Post
The other thing I find strange is that they predict "several years" of stability. Why do they think this period of stability will end?
That is the wishful thinking part: they are taking some six months of incomplete data, and projecting forward a scenario where things stabilize long enough for their golden parachutes to vest.

Never mind that their own explanation (the lack of a 50 shades-grade blockbuster) says their comparison is running off a false baseline. If there was an unrepeatable spike last year, then by all rights they should deduct those sales from the 2012 total to establish the true baseline. Which, since 2013 has grown above the spiked 2012 means true growth, so far, is well about the 5% number they are pinning their hopes on.
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Old 11-18-2013, 06:18 AM   #8
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When I first bought my kindle I went on a buying binge. I've a backlog of hundreds of unread ebooks so lately I've slowed my buying considerably as I work my way through it. I haven't bought ANY paper books in the same period. That pattern might account for a lot of the slowdown. It does not mean that people with ereaders are returning to paper.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by pidgeon92 View Post
My own personal ebook buying habits have changed, perhaps others have changed as well. When I first got my Kindle, I went on some buying binges. I now have a backlog of a couple hundred ebooks. I'm buying very few lately, only when they drop to a really low price, like under $3. And I check to see if they are available from the library before hitting the buy button.

I'd be curious to see how ebook lending at the library is coming along in terms of numbers. I'd bet I'm not the only one who is getting a majority of their new ebook titles from the library.
Too many people loaded up on too many ebooks. Most of these ebooks will never be read, they will sit on ereaders like photos in computers. The number of ebooks downloaded per person will drop back to a rational number.
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pidgeon92 View Post
My own personal ebook buying habits have changed, perhaps others have changed as well. When I first got my Kindle, I went on some buying binges. I now have a backlog of a couple hundred ebooks. I'm buying very few lately, only when they drop to a really low price, like under $3. And I check to see if they are available from the library before hitting the buy button.

I'd be curious to see how ebook lending at the library is coming along in terms of numbers. I'd bet I'm not the only one who is getting a majority of their new ebook titles from the library.
Exactly. But on the other hand, I am no longer waiting for books to come out in paperback. I either get them now at the library or by purchase, or I go on to something else. Now that I can read my kindle on the airplane, I don't see the need for paperbacks in my life at all.
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:11 PM   #11
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Too many facts left out for my liking.

How are ebook sales doing relative to the market as a whole? What about those who only own dedicated readers?

I expect electrons to coexist with paper, but that article was too focused on the agenda.
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:44 PM   #12
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More relevant to me is whehter book sales as a whole are increasing due to ebook sales. Are ebook purchasers only buying the same amount of books but in a different format?

My personal experience says that they are buying more books overall. I know several one book at a time kind of people who now buy several books a month instead of several a year. They read more because the reader is always with them and they buy more because it is easier and they can get exactly what they want as a rule. One guy told me that he used to buy a book and mostly it would sit in the glove department of his car and it could take him months to read it where now he reads at least two books a week and is loving it.

My boss who reads on her tablet mainly, said she bought more books last year than in her entire lifetime and has read all but one. Still wading through A Game of Thrones.

This to me is more valuable to the industry than the person(s) who download a lot of inexpensive/free stuff on a long term basis. Not saying there is anything wrong with that but eventually they get inundated and stop.

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Old 11-20-2013, 04:18 PM   #13
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It seems that many companies and many people still do not understand that it is impossible to sustain the same growth rate. Let's say, you're growing with 10% each year, and you started out selling 100 units in 2010.

Then you'll need to sell:
100 * 1.10 = 110 in 2011 (+10 units)
110 * 1.10 = 121 in 2012 (+11 units)
121 * 1.10 = 133.1 in 2013 (+12.1 units)

Or, generally:

100 * 1.10^(year-1) = number of units to produce each year.

You'll need to sell more and more each year... and many companies want to actually see their growth rate growing. That's absurd and unsustainable.

In other words:

1.10 ^ x = 2 || (After how many years will a growth by 10% cause the production to be doubled?)
x * log 1.10 = log 2 || ("Take down" x from the exponent)
x = (log 2) / (log 10) || (Set x free)
x = ~7.3

You will need to double your amount of sold units every ~7.3 years, only to sustain a growth percentage of 10%. If you want to grow 15% per year, you'll need to double sales every ~5 years.

Last edited by Katsunami; 11-21-2013 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 11-26-2013, 07:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
It seems that many companies and many people still do not understand that it is impossible to sustain the same growth rate. Let's say, you're growing with 10% each year, and you started out selling 100 units in 2010.

Then you'll need to sell:
100 * 1.10 = 110 in 2011 (+10 units)
110 * 1.10 = 121 in 2012 (+11 units)
121 * 1.10 = 133.1 in 2013 (+12.1 units)

Or, generally:

100 * 1.10^(year-1) = number of units to produce each year.

You'll need to sell more and more each year... and many companies want to actually see their growth rate growing. That's absurd and unsustainable.

In other words:

1.10 ^ x = 2 || (After how many years will a growth by 10% cause the production to be doubled?)
x * log 1.10 = log 2 || ("Take down" x from the exponent)
x = (log 2) / (log 10) || (Set x free)
x = ~7.3

You will need to double your amount of sold units every ~7.3 years, only to sustain a growth percentage of 10%. If you want to grow 15% per year, you'll need to double sales every ~5 years.
Or:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_72
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Old 11-26-2013, 09:05 AM   #15
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Hmzz. I didn't know of that shortcut. I'll have to remember that.

It can be deduced of course.
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