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Old 08-18-2019, 02:55 AM   #16
binaryhermit
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The big publishers are sort of pricing themselves out of the market somewhat, if you believe the numbers Amazon put out during the dispute with Hatchette.

If this is actually true, and I'm not sure it is, it wouldn't surprise me to see big publishers lower their prices eventually

EDIT: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/...igger-pie.html

I also suspect someone authors with significant name recognition decided to go the self-publishing route, kinda like what Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails did self-releasing music a few years ago. Although both NIN and Radiohead have since signed record deals, presumably with significantly better terms than some random not well known artist could get.

Last edited by binaryhermit; 08-18-2019 at 02:58 AM.
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:14 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by binaryhermit View Post
The big publishers are sort of pricing themselves out of the market somewhat, if you believe the numbers Amazon put out during the dispute with Hatchette.

If this is actually true, and I'm not sure it is, it wouldn't surprise me to see big publishers lower their prices eventually

EDIT: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/...igger-pie.html

I also suspect someone authors with significant name recognition decided to go the self-publishing route, kinda like what Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails did self-releasing music a few years ago. Although both NIN and Radiohead have since signed record deals, presumably with significantly better terms than some random not well known artist could get.
One needs to remember that eBooks are just a small piece of a much bigger pie, not the whole pie. The estimates that I've seen say roughly 20% of the market. There is also traditional paper books and audiobooks. I've seen some authors play in the indie market, especially with books that don't really match their normal genre and likely would not have generated significant paper sales.
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Old 08-18-2019, 11:29 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by pwalker8 View Post
One needs to remember that eBooks are just a small piece of a much bigger pie, not the whole pie. The estimates that I've seen say roughly 20% of the market. There is also traditional paper books and audiobooks. I've seen some authors play in the indie market, especially with books that don't really match their normal genre and likely would not have generated significant paper sales.
Depends on who you ask. Eventually pbooks will disappear into insignificance. Analog music basically dissapeared. I suppose technically they still press records, but that is no longer done with an analog master, but a digital one. You already see the demise of physical media (cds, dvds). Eventually nobody alive will remember a pre internet time. Soon nobody alive will remember a time where pbooks was the only game in town for reading.
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Old 08-18-2019, 11:58 AM   #19
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Depends on who you ask. Eventually pbooks will disappear into insignificance. Analog music basically dissapeared. I suppose technically they still press records, but that is no longer done with an analog master, but a digital one. You already see the demise of physical media (cds, dvds). Eventually nobody alive will remember a pre internet time. Soon nobody alive will remember a time where pbooks was the only game in town for reading.
True, it does depend on who you ask. Certainly, ebooks is a much bigger piece of the indie market, since most Indies don't have any significant paper book sales.

I had assumed that paper books would eventually disappear since I rarely buy paper books any more, but that assumption so far doesn't seem to be accurate. I think that the percentages are very dependent on which authors one is talking about and what genres one is talking about.

I would speculate that people who buy lots of books and people who buy books for reading on trips (i.e. beach books and airplane books) would be more likely to move to ebooks. I would also speculate that quite a few who might have moved to ebooks have moved to audiobooks instead. That is based on the gross percentages that one sees in various articles.

Anyway you look at it, it appears that ebook sales as a percentage of overall book sales have been static for a number of years now.
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Old 08-18-2019, 01:37 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by DuckieTigger View Post
Depends on who you ask. Eventually pbooks will disappear into insignificance. Analog music basically dissapeared. I suppose technically they still press records, but that is no longer done with an analog master, but a digital one. You already see the demise of physical media (cds, dvds). Eventually nobody alive will remember a pre internet time. Soon nobody alive will remember a time where pbooks was the only game in town for reading.

Pbooks will never totally disappear, just as vinyl hangs on as a specialty product, two revolutions past its time.

But...

Pbook prices depend on volume and so does their profitability.
Wittle away their volume and the price will have to go up to maintain margins and, of course, the higher the price goes the lower the volume goes.

The BPHs are doing everything they can think of to maintain profits; squeezing staff, squeezing authors, fighting retailers (and not just Amazon), closing warehouses, reducing mass market original to a minimum and replacing them with the pricier trade paperbacks...

They've succeded in maintaining the profits "steady", pre-inflation since ~2003, but at a price of lower volume and much lower market share. Dending on the source, the combined BPHs have given up anywhere from a third to half their total market share.

It won't be this year or next but those trends (and others) will continue until we see the $50 discounted hardcover baseline.

Volume should stabilize by then.
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Old 08-18-2019, 05:00 PM   #21
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Pbooks will never totally disappear, just as vinyl hangs on as a specialty product, two revolutions past its time.

But...

Pbook prices depend on volume and so does their profitability.
Wittle away their volume and the price will have to go up to maintain margins and, of course, the higher the price goes the lower the volume goes.

The BPHs are doing everything they can think of to maintain profits; squeezing staff, squeezing authors, fighting retailers (and not just Amazon), closing warehouses, reducing mass market original to a minimum and replacing them with the pricier trade paperbacks...

They've succeded in maintaining the profits "steady", pre-inflation since ~2003, but at a price of lower volume and much lower market share. Dending on the source, the combined BPHs have given up anywhere from a third to half their total market share.

It won't be this year or next but those trends (and others) will continue until we see the $50 discounted hardcover baseline.

Volume should stabilize by then.
The numbers don't seem to support that narrative.

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tan...to-audiobooks/


From that article -

According to Pew Research from 2011 to 2018

% of adults who have read a book in any format. 79% to 74%
% of adults who have read a print book. 71% to 67%
% of adults who have read an ebook 17% to 26%
% of adults who have listened to an audiobook. 11% to 18%

If you look at the graph in the article, you see that the % of adults who have read a print book has actually been going up from it's low of 63% in 2015, while the percentage of adults who have read an ebook has been pretty static since 2014 while audiobooks have been climbing steady.

The other graph is real interesting -
24% non book reader
39% read print books only
7% digital books only
29% read both print and digital books.

digital books include both ebooks and audio books

Other interesting info
10% of adults from 18 to 29 year old read only books in digital format.
5% of adults from 50 to 64 year old read only books in digital format.
4% of adults 65 or older read only books in digital format.
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Old 08-19-2019, 04:14 AM   #22
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The numbers don't seem to support that narrative.

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tan...to-audiobooks/


From that article -

According to Pew Research from 2011 to 2018

% of adults who have read a book in any format. 79% to 74%
% of adults who have read a print book. 71% to 67%
% of adults who have read an ebook 17% to 26%
% of adults who have listened to an audiobook. 11% to 18%

If you look at the graph in the article, you see that the % of adults who have read a print book has actually been going up from it's low of 63% in 2015, while the percentage of adults who have read an ebook has been pretty static since 2014 while audiobooks have been climbing steady.

The other graph is real interesting -
24% non book reader
39% read print books only
7% digital books only
29% read both print and digital books.

digital books include both ebooks and audio books

Other interesting info
10% of adults from 18 to 29 year old read only books in digital format.
5% of adults from 50 to 64 year old read only books in digital format.
4% of adults 65 or older read only books in digital format.
Your source has a few major flaws. I believe they either fell victim to confirmation bias, purposely or accidentally picked the wrong sample, cherry picked the results. What the study does show, and I am not surprised, is a few things.
  • younger adults are much more likely to read digital only than older adults
  • almost half of the readers (36% vs 39%) are not opposed to reading digital
  • the study differentiates between a lot of things (age, education, income, race, gender), but not a single word about the amount of books being consumed per person, nor the ratio of digital vs paper in the mixed group

There is still more than half of the readers that only read paper. For this study the questions asked if you read a pbook, or an ebook, or listened to an audiobook. One is enough. According to https://www.irisreading.com/how-many...e-person-read/ using data from Pew, the average number of books read per year is 12, while the median is 4. That means 50% read 4 books or less per year. 25% don't read. That leaves 25% left that read 1 to 4 books. There is a very high chance that those are pbook only readers as they maybe got it as a gift, bought used, or borrowed it from someone. They can definitely not be all ebook only readers, as there is only 7% of them.

All of a sudden it doesn't look that obvious anymore that pbooks are more popular than ebooks. It also unfairly gives pbooks another advantage: used books. Used books are automatically paper.
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Old 08-19-2019, 05:43 AM   #23
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If you're willing to wait, many mainstream books go on special offer from time to time.

https://ereaderiq.com/ is a free web site that will alert you to any special offer on particular authors and/or particular books that you specify.

Highly recommended!
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:23 AM   #24
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Your source has a few major flaws. I believe they either fell victim to confirmation bias, purposely or accidentally picked the wrong sample, cherry picked the results. What the study does show, and I am not surprised, is a few things.
  • younger adults are much more likely to read digital only than older adults
  • almost half of the readers (36% vs 39%) are not opposed to reading digital
  • the study differentiates between a lot of things (age, education, income, race, gender), but not a single word about the amount of books being consumed per person, nor the ratio of digital vs paper in the mixed group

There is still more than half of the readers that only read paper. For this study the questions asked if you read a pbook, or an ebook, or listened to an audiobook. One is enough. According to https://www.irisreading.com/how-many...e-person-read/ using data from Pew, the average number of books read per year is 12, while the median is 4. That means 50% read 4 books or less per year. 25% don't read. That leaves 25% left that read 1 to 4 books. There is a very high chance that those are pbook only readers as they maybe got it as a gift, bought used, or borrowed it from someone. They can definitely not be all ebook only readers, as there is only 7% of them.

All of a sudden it doesn't look that obvious anymore that pbooks are more popular than ebooks. It also unfairly gives pbooks another advantage: used books. Used books are automatically paper.
So you are asserting that the Pew Research study was biased? That's interesting. The article did mention the average books read verses the median. Really, that particular dynamic has remained fairly steady over the years. I remember reading pretty close to the same figure back before ebooks became popular. As I've pointed out before, a large part of the book customer base buys a handful of best sellers a year. That's where the phrase beach book came from and why May is one of the big release months of the year.

Frankly, I doubt the used book market is nearly big enough to be the villain in your narrative. It's very much a niche market. Plus the Pew report lines up well with many of the reports that I've seen of what the split of new books sold. Audiobooks are where the big growth is and ebook seems to be fairly steady as a percentage of books sales.
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Old 08-19-2019, 12:39 PM   #25
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By an interesting coincidence, I ran across this option piece this morning, "I would rather read with my ears" by a fellow named Daryl Austin.

https://businessglitz.com/us/id-rath...-with-my-ears/

It might better go in the thread we had a while back on reading verses listening, but this is as good a place as any to put it.

I thought it was an interesting piece on why the author prefers audiobooks to ebooks or print books.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:30 PM   #26
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So you are asserting that the Pew Research study was biased? That's interesting. The article did mention the average books read verses the median. Really, that particular dynamic has remained fairly steady over the years. I remember reading pretty close to the same figure back before ebooks became popular. As I've pointed out before, a large part of the book customer base buys a handful of best sellers a year. That's where the phrase beach book came from and why May is one of the big release months of the year.

Frankly, I doubt the used book market is nearly big enough to be the villain in your narrative. It's very much a niche market. Plus the Pew report lines up well with many of the reports that I've seen of what the split of new books sold. Audiobooks are where the big growth is and ebook seems to be fairly steady as a percentage of books sales.
Sure, they mention the average and median in passing. Just as a reminder that it didn't change.
Quote:
Overall, Americans read an average (mean) of 12 books per year, while the typical (median) American has read four books in the past 12 months. Each of these figures is largely unchanged since 2011
And they say that growth is insignificant, because everything is the same as before:
Quote:
Despite some growth in certain digital formats, it remains the case that relatively few Americans consume digital books
The only growth mentioned in the article is the audiobooks. They have to mention it, because that is what the article is all about. They bunch ebooks and audiobooks together, so to leave you to come to the conclusion that "some growth" refers to the jump from 14% to 18% of increase in listeners. Just so they can blurt out:
Quote:
Nearly four-in-ten Americans only read print books


Only because the reading habits didn't change when it comes to the amount of books consumed per person doesn't even come close to mean there hasn't been a big increase in ebook consumption. Same with audiobooks. 14% to 18% in 2 years is an increase, but it appears pretty small to the true growth of consumption, not who consumes. Your other article mentions this:
Quote:
audiobook sales have doubled every year for a decade.
Ebooks? They did not get that big an increase. But ebook consumption grew. Not according to the numbers of the Big5. And silently ignored by Pew. No data point on the amount of books consumed in each category. That is where they are pushing their agenda.
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Old 08-20-2019, 12:18 AM   #27
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Just recently decided to switch to e-books when I read an articlestating all the pros and cons of e-books and print books. E-books are so much cheaper than printed copies, and it helps save millions of trees being cut down every day.

I'm just having a hard time looking for sources where I can read e-books for free (since I don't have that much budget yet to buy copies).

I'd be glad to take any suggestion!

The future of reading is ebooks. Back in 2001 I was in college for computer science and my main professor kept saying how the office of the future is paperless. That was before there were standards like epub and ereaders. You can kept cheap used eReaders on ebay and propertyroom :

https://www.propertyroom.com/l/amazo...ieces/13447935

Some books on project gutenberg last the test of time. Right now I am reading one of Bertrand Russell's books "Free Thought and Official Propaganda" and it was written in 1922 and it says in 100 years free thought and speech could be more or less banned and I kind of see that today with politically correct cultural marxism (not cultural marxism is not economic marxism. The book is mind blowing and not too long :

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/44932



Some of his other books last the test of time too but tend to be mathematics but some his philosophical stuff stands the test of time too.

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Old 08-20-2019, 08:37 AM   #28
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Ebooks? They did not get that big an increase. But ebook consumption grew. Not according to the numbers of the Big5. And silently ignored by Pew. No data point on the amount of books consumed in each category. That is where they are pushing their agenda.
The problem with the "pbook ascendant polls" is they don't match the numbers.

Publishers trade book revenues are flat-to-declining--all you have to do is read their annual PR reports--*before* factoring inflation. Cummulative inflation since 2003 alone is 39.4% so adjusting tbeir dollar values, the real world value of their sales has actually declined by some 30-40%. And tbat is despite the boost they get from ebooks (still 17% despite the BPH efforts to suppress) and audio books (growing all along). And despite buying up ever more smaller publishers and raising pbooks prices.

To those polls, a book is a book, where K12, repair manual, catalog, or potboiler. Whether it new, used, or library. Full price or one-cent coverless sale. Meaningless commingling.

So yeah, a lot of mechanics read JC Whitney. So...cha-ching! "A pbook reader".
A first grader reads DICK AND JANE or whatever in reading class; "Another reader!"
College student, buys a used textbook to save a few bucks: "Yay! Another one!"

Of course, none of those actually had a *choice*. The material and medium was predetermined by the controlling organization. None of the books were consumer books. Yet all those organizational purchases are being digitized and replaced by ebooks or *websites* anyway.

The pbook vs ebook dichotomy of the polls is fake because they don't include websites, which have already decimated entire pbook sectors and continue to kill more. Especially as K-12 continues their adoption of Chromebooks to replace textbooks.

And soon enough this metholodolgy is going to blow up in their faces because textbook vendors are stampeding to digital to try and kill used textbooks. Those ratios aren't going to hold.

Where consumers do have a choice is in recreational reading.
And recreational reading is bimodal: casual readers who read a book or three a year, who can't rationally justify the cost of an ereader, and avid readers who can. There are a lot of the former but it is hard to get them to buy, whereas the latter don't need motivation. The former skew heavily to new, heavily promoted releases and their attention ebbs and flows with the popularity or lack of same of the "bestsellers": the front list, which isn't selling as much by the industry's own gripes, wheareas the latter are more steady, regular buyers and spread their spending across the midlist and backlist, buying books in bunches.

When bookstores complain about declining traffic, of the fading of holiday book gifting, they are talking about casual readers. Those aren't rushing to ebooks...they're rushing to Netflix, or Playstation, or the ballpark.

The price of one pbook will outstrip a month of Netflix and Hulu combined.
And offer a lot less entertainment value.

The center of gravity of the avid readers, the bandwagon starters, the steady regular buyers, that has moved to ebooks. No amount of snobbery or stastistical smoke and mirror can hide that romance is 80% ebook, SF&F is 65% ebook, even mystery and thrillers are 50% ebook.

The genres is where consumers choose and they are choosing ebooks. They are choosing backlist--in the latest trade industry plaints they admit 50% of their *profits* come from backlist. That's the avid readers's doing, not the casuals. Because avid readers are fewer but they're kingmakers, their power magnified by the number of books they buy. And what they buy is ebooks and used print. And day by day, more buy into Scribd and Kindle Unlimited.

Why is the front list fading? Why are sales declining?
Those are *facts* the polls can't explain because their comingling of organization sales and consumer sales, of library, used, and new sales purposefully obscures the travails of a declining business. Somebody pays for those polls and it isn't readers...

It's not the book industry in trouble, it's the dead tree pulp publishing business, slowly withering. Slowly but surely. It won't be overnight so it's easy to pretend the parrot isn't hacking and coughing blood.

But it's really really sick and pretending otherwise won save the parrot.

The polls don't show the way to the future: the money does.
The quarterly and annual financials tell the progression of the story, year by year.
The rest is wishful thinking.

Last edited by fjtorres; 08-20-2019 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:05 AM   #29
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Just recently decided to switch to e-books when I read an articlestating all the pros and cons of e-books and print books. E-books are so much cheaper than printed copies, and it helps save millions of trees being cut down every day.

I'm just having a hard time looking for sources where I can read e-books for free (since I don't have that much budget yet to buy copies).

I'd be glad to take any suggestion!

I don't think books will go out of business, and I think e-books are also here to stay.

I disagree e-books are always cheaper, a lot of the times not the case for me, but I will continue enjoying both formats. I love my e-readers and ebooks, a few audiobooks, and all my collectable books. My house is filled with them.

I think overall as a trend reading will just keep slowing down with the public, though. We'll keep getting some new surges like with the audiobook trend the last few years, but not sure long term.
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:39 AM   #30
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Ebooks? They did not get that big an increase. But ebook consumption grew. Not according to the numbers of the Big5. And silently ignored by Pew. No data point on the amount of books consumed in each category. That is where they are pushing their agenda.
Silently ignored? Hardly. Who exactly do you think Pew surveyed? You seem to be asserting that Pew got it's numbers from the major publishers. Pew is a company that does Surveys of the general public. It seems to me that your issue is that since the survey doesn't match your personal belief, you are reaching for rationals to dismiss the survey.

The survey measures the number of people in the general public who read books and if they read paper, ebooks or audibooks. In some parts of the survey ebooks and audiobooks are grouped together in digital content, in other parts they are not grouped together.

The population grows each year. Even if the percentage of the population who read ebooks stays the same, the number of ebooks purchased would likely grow, just like the number of paper books purchased would likely grown.

I generally take polls and survey's with a grain of salt. On the other hand the trend of audiobook sales increasing matches reports I've seen elsewhere.

My basic take on all this is that change takes time. Yea, I want ebooks to really take off and for every book ever published to be available to me as an ebook. However, as much as I love ebooks, the a person who reads 4 books or less has no real reason to switch to ebooks.

The combination of average reads 12 books a year while the median reads 4 books a year indicates that the vast majority read 4 or less a year. As I said before, that matches a figure that has been cited for years. Most readers only read a few books, while a much smaller group of readers reads a whole lot more.

While I understand your desired narrative, i.e. that indies drive the ebook market, that doesn't mean that it's a case of my tribe wins and everyone else loses. I see the digital market as a market where the indie can compete, unlike the paper market. The market is evolving and likely will continue to evolve for quite some time.
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