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Old 08-12-2010, 05:02 AM   #1
eric11210
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Ebooks now 8.5% of sales, expected to climb to 40% in 3-5 years

This from the New York Times. To me the important statement was from Simon and Shuster rep who said they thought sales of ebooks could climb to 40% of sales within 3-5 years. When that happens, say goodbye to traditional bookstores:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/12/bu...store.html?hpw

My prediction (for whatever it's worth): the bookstores will show off a handful of the very best sellers in print form and offer to sell ebooks for the rest of the titles. I also think they may start installing machines that can build a book instantly using PoD technology so that people who prefer real paper will be able to buy a book in print on the spot.

Edit: Sorry, 8%, not 8.5%.

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Old 08-12-2010, 05:10 AM   #2
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“The shift from the physical to the digital book can pick up some of the economic slack, but it can’t pick up the loss that is created when you don’t have the customers browsing the displays,” said Laurence J. Kirshbaum, a literary agent. “We need people going into stores and seeing a book they didn’t know existed and buying it.”
I've bought more books that I didn't know existed from browsing online while buying an ebook than I ever did on impulse purchases in bookshops, over the same period. And I love bookshops.

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Old 08-12-2010, 07:17 AM   #3
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I've bought more books that I didn't know existed from browsing online while buying an ebook than I ever did on impulse purchases in bookshops, over the same period. And I love bookshops.

Graham
I agree - I've found far more by browsing Amazon - especially "people who bought this also bought ..." and so forth, than I ever found by browsing in bookshops. For much of what I want, bookshops have very little stock, so browsing doesn't do much for me.

I my view, ebooks are likely to increase reading. They just threaten the people who currently make money out of pbooks.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:06 AM   #4
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I think that we will see the return of the independent bookstore in the next 10-20 years. As the big chains have to change their business model and start closing stores you will see the independent book store reopen to provide the DTB to the person who loves the DTB. I see them as similar to smaller record stores that have opened to sell the actual vynal (sp) album.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ProfCrash View Post
I think that we will see the return of the independent bookstore in the next 10-20 years. As the big chains have to change their business model and start closing stores you will see the independent book store reopen to provide the DTB to the person who loves the DTB. I see them as similar to smaller record stores that have opened to sell the actual vynal (sp) album.
That's one of the most encouraging views I've read recently. It would be great if independent bookshops got busier, and more opened.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:27 PM   #6
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Imho the number of local bookshops will plunge before it recovers in another form. The numbers just don't add up to finance small book stores while this whole surge to eBooks takes place over the coming 5 years. I believe the numbers will plunge, and go to side streets. They will change fundamentally though. I believe Procrash is right in the vinyl comparison. Paper books will ALWAYS be sold (well, by always I mean at least 50 more years...LOL). I truly believe that. But they will be small print runs, cost a premium price, and the title list will be limited. There will also be a rise of specialist printers printing premium quality prints with specialist covers, binding, paper, etc. Paper books will become a moderately luxury 'retro' item.
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:58 PM   #7
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Paper book selling will have to change. The "BIG" book sellers will have to go online or the publishers will have to do that to stay alive.

The biggest winners, for a while, may be used book stores for those who "just have to have a real book" to read from.

Personally, I think that ebooks will catch on faster than expected.

Wouldn't it be funny if Amazon starts offering print on demand service with free shipping to those who want paper books?
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:01 PM   #8
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As an author, I've accepted the idea that beyond 2012, print books will be such an insignificant part of my sales that the whole concept of getting my books into bookstores will be moot. As a consequence, I'm not likely to sign any more contracts with traditional publishers. At least, that's what I tell myself.
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:16 PM   #9
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Ah, another doomsday for p-books thread.
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:34 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by eric11210 View Post
My prediction (for whatever it's worth): the bookstores will show off a handful of the very best sellers in print form and offer to sell ebooks for the rest of the titles. I also think they may start installing machines that can build a book instantly using PoD technology so that people who prefer real paper will be able to buy a book in print on the spot.
Actually, they started researching that system years ago, and have actually come up with a quick POD book printer that can generate a paperback in 5 minutes, and it's done using a kiosk system. I don't know what happened to it, as there was a lot of hype over it at first (mostly for printing out of print books), which quickly died down to nothing. But either way, I don't see print books falling into the minority in the ways that some are predicting. As stated before, that would require a fundamental shift in the social and habitual norm, and I don't see that happening for at least another generation.

Sure, we'll see a greater uptake in ebooks for a while still, but then stall for a few years once the niche is saturated. It'll only resume again and move upwards towards totally replacing print books as older, more traditional readers either make the jump to ebooks, or the younger generation becomes the majority buyers. And again, I'm not dissing ebooks. I'm merely taking a more realistic look at the market. Just look at netbooks. They were flying off the shelves in the early days, and now the market has stagnated. Will it grow again? Yes, but much slower. Ebooks will do the same. They'll continue to grow for a while longer, stagnate, and then move up again.

It's normal market cycles. There's the big rush of acceptance from early adopters, the pause when that market is exhausted, and then the slow but methodical march into mainstream usage.
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Old 08-12-2010, 04:42 PM   #11
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Ah, another doomsday for p-books thread.
I don't think that it is. I think it is a discussion of how e-books will share space with DTB.

I agree that there will be a continued decline in the independent book store in the near future. As the large chain stores start changing their marketing and sales pitch (more games, DVD's, toys, and some books) the space for the independent book seller will start to open up. I almost think that the first step will be Used Book Stores that end up sharing space with new books. I think the two can share space pretty easily. The new books would be the hard backs and paper backs as they are released. They hold off on selling the used versions for a couple of months, to encourage new book sales, and then cut back on the number of new books that they order and bring out the used version of the book.

There is always going to be a place for paper books, the storefront is going to change.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:00 PM   #12
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Even if the e-book replaces mass market paperbacks, I'm sure select hardcovers or even trade paperbacks of the really great books will continue to be published - they might just turn into a specialty item. I've noticed a lot of mass market paperbacks increasing in size to the point where some of them are almost the same size as a trade paperback.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:06 PM   #13
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I think that we will see the return of the independent bookstore in the next 10-20 years....
As in, the same way we've seen a non-resurgence of the independent music store and independent video store...?

I'm not sure I agree with the time frame, and I expect paper to stick around for some time, but brick and mortar bookstores are roadkill.

The only plausible exception is super-niche stores in big cities or serving a very specific community, e.g. art books, college bookstores, used books. Even the used stores will eventually get strangled by the dearth of remainders and new paper books.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:17 PM   #14
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Ah, another doomsday for p-books thread.
Kind of, but given the changes that are going on this early in the life of ebooks it's really hard to project a couple of years ahead and not see dramatic changes in the paperbook market. I don't expect paperbooks to go away entirely, and I don't want them to, but I do see a big shift to ebookis, and a dwindling market for paper, coming.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:20 PM   #15
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One thing I haven't seen mentioned in this topic is the fact that paper books belong to the purchaser to do with as they wish but ebooks belong to the publisher/writer and the purchaser has no rights except to read it as is. Ebooks currently may not be sold, traded or even given away. Until or unless this changes I will still buy and keep pbooks along with ebooks.
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