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Old 04-27-2017, 10:21 AM   #1
Shane R
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sales of consumer ebooks down 17%, sales of physical books up 8%

How eBooks lost their shine: 'Kindles now look clunky and unhip'

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Ten years ago, when the Kindle launched, the idea was miraculous. Here was the ability to carry hundreds of books enfolded in a tiny slip of plastic, countless stories in a few hundred grams.
-
A decade on, lay a Kindle next to a smartphone or tablet and it looks so much older, while the reading experience it delivers has scarcely progressed.

“It was new and exciting,” says Cathryn Summerhayes, a literary agent at Curtis Brown. “But now they look so clunky and unhip, don’t they? I guess everyone wants a piece of trendy tech and, unfortunately, there aren’t trendy tech reading devices...
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Another thing that has happened is that books have become celebrated again as objects of beauty. They are coveted in their own right, while ebooks, which are not things of beauty, have become more expensive; a new digital fiction release is often only a pound or two cheaper than a hardback.
Last paper book I bought was a technical volume; neither of these arguments resonates with me.
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Old 04-27-2017, 10:57 AM   #2
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I suspect that people are still using their Kindles. But once you've purchased your favorites, to build up a core library, the amount spent on new material is bound to drop.
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Old 04-27-2017, 11:25 AM   #3
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I want to know where they got their figures.
I don't think Amazon gives out their figures. I don't think anyone does.
Oh and last time I looked people read on their smart phones and tablets.
Not to mention Kindle is not the only ereader.

This could lead to an interesting discussion but I consider headlines like this nothing more than click bait for the author of the article.

And the poster above me is correct.
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Old 04-27-2017, 12:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinisajoy View Post
I want to know where they got their figures.
They are numbers from Publishers. So, presumably it doesn't include the Indie/Self-pub market.
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Old 04-27-2017, 12:52 PM   #5
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The article is very focused on physical books, ebooks are really just mentioned in passing. The ebook decline is based on a survey by some marking firm. Rather obviously, no one releases their actual sales figures.

I can well believe that the growth in ebooks has slowed quite a bit since the 2012-2014 time period. I suspect that a lot of the big growth was fueled by people filling out their libraries with all their favorites. Now that they have done this, the purchases have slowed down to the new books coming out or people discovering new authors.
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Old 04-27-2017, 12:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by SleepyBob View Post
They are numbers from Publishers. So, presumably it doesn't include the Indie/Self-pub market.
It was a survey for a Publisher's group, not numbers from Publishers.
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Old 04-27-2017, 01:03 PM   #7
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I'm willing to give them the presumption that e-book sales have fallen. But the arguments proposed seem to have nothing to do with the why of it.

Quote:
A decade on, lay a Kindle next to a smartphone or tablet and it looks so much older, while the reading experience it delivers has scarcely progressed.
How has the reading experience of your average, bog-standard paperback fiction book changed? That's a feature, not a bug.

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Another thing that has happened is that books have become celebrated again as objects of beauty. They are coveted in their own right, while ebooks, which are not things of beauty, have become more expensive; a new digital fiction release is often only a pound or two cheaper than a hardback.
That argument always falls flat with me. It assumes that every book purchased is an antique edition of a Henry James literary classic.

Does a beaten-up paperback copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, or the latest James Patterson hard cover have any more beauty than a Kindle Oasis in its cover?

Last edited by ZodWallop; 04-27-2017 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 04-27-2017, 01:19 PM   #8
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Maybe this is part of the reason for the decline :

https://www.amazon.com/Triple-Crown-...=felix+francis

A hardcover for less then 3$ more than a digital book ?

But let's look some more -
https://www.amazon.com/Triple-Crown-...=felix+francis

Hard cover - 37.99$. Paperback - 11$. Kindle - 28.49 $ (!).

(prices of course may/will change for each viewer, but that's what I see now. Also note that this are 2 sales for the same book with totaly different prices).

Why buy a digital book ? (And I'm not even talkng of the economics of printed, physical books vs electronic ones).

Add to this the problems of DRM, inability to share, etc. and no wonder.

On the other hand they are not counting me (Delphi Classics) or my daughter (Gutenberg) and I guess many more like us that don't necessarily need to read the latest bestseller and will settle with a classic or an indy.
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Old 04-27-2017, 01:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bn_el View Post
Maybe this is part of the reason for the decline :

https://www.amazon.com/Triple-Crown-...=felix+francis

A hardcover for less then 3$ more than a digital book ?

But let's look some more -
https://www.amazon.com/Triple-Crown-...=felix+francis

Hard cover - 37.99$. Paperback - 11$. Kindle - 28.49 $ (!).

(prices of course may/will change for each viewer, but that's what I see now. Also note that this are 2 sales for the same book with totaly different prices).
  • Hardcover $15.75 (discounted by Amazon from $28.00)
  • eBook $12.99 (can't be discounted by retailer)
  • Large Print Hardcover $37.99 (these are almost always $$$$)
  • Paperback $11.00 (discounted by Amazon from $16.00) (won't be out until July at which time the eBook should drop too)



Quote:
Why buy a digital book ? (And I'm not even talkng of the economics of printed, physical books vs electronic ones).
Why might someone choose an eBook over a pBook? Portability, storage space, ability to change font, ability to adjust type size or otherwise adjust aspects of the book, ...
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Old 04-27-2017, 01:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwalker8 View Post
The article is very focused on physical books, ebooks are really just mentioned in passing. The ebook decline is based on a survey by some marking firm. Rather obviously, no one releases their actual sales figures.

I can well believe that the growth in ebooks has slowed quite a bit since the 2012-2014 time period. I suspect that a lot of the big growth was fueled by people filling out their libraries with all their favorites. Now that they have done this, the purchases have slowed down to the new books coming out or people discovering new authors.
I believe the decline too. My own quick research would say a drop of 25% or more.
I will start at 2012. This is digital orders and less than 100 over the years are apps.
2012-1922
2013-5035
2014-1815
2015-1215
2016-243
2017 through April 27-26
Note: this is just one person's orders. It may or may not reflect anyone's else's buying.

It has nothing to do with what I am reading on.
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Old 04-27-2017, 02:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinisajoy View Post
I want to know where they got their figures.
I don't think Amazon gives out their figures. I don't think anyone does.
Oh and last time I looked people read on their smart phones and tablets.
Not to mention Kindle is not the only ereader.

This could lead to an interesting discussion but I consider headlines like this nothing more than click bait for the author of the article.

And the poster above me is correct.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZodWallop View Post
I'm willing to give them the presumption that e-book sales have fallen. But the arguments proposed seem to have nothing to do with the why of it.



How has the reading experience of your average, bog-standard paperback fiction book changed? That's a feature, not a bug.



That argument always falls flat with me. It assumes that every book purchased is an antique edition of a Henry James literary classic.

Does a beaten-up paperback copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, or the latest James Patterson hard cover have any more beauty than a Kindle Oasis in its cover?
+1
I should start fabricating random stats, and make up articles containing unsupportable explanations about them. Click Bait seems like a good side gig.
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Old 04-27-2017, 02:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinisajoy View Post
I believe the decline too. My own quick research would say a drop of 25% or more.
I will start at 2012. This is digital orders and less than 100 over the years are apps.
2012-1922
2013-5035
2014-1815
2015-1215
2016-243
2017 through April 27-26
Note: this is just one person's orders. It may or may not reflect anyone's else's buying.

It has nothing to do with what I am reading on.
Interesting. Mine, for e-books only from 2012 on is as follows:
2012 - 163
2013 - 160
2014 - 137
2015 - 180
2016 - 148
2017(to 27 April) - 76

I'm not sure what happened in 2015...maybe a big sale somewhere. I could go through the list of books bought that year and verify, but I'm too lazy right now. I'm not really seeing any big drop-off in my book buying habits.

I am, however seeing a drop-off in the amount that I spend.

2012 - $749.71
2013 - $563.42
2014 - $378.39
2015 - $390.23
2016 - $330.47
2017(to 27 April) - 104.67

I'm pretty sure that drop-off is due to the courts breaking up the price fixing conspiracy, since I don't think anything else has changed in my buying habits.

Shari
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Old 04-27-2017, 04:02 PM   #13
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The biggest influences on my ebook buying were the availability of well stocked, non-resident library subscriptions and the loss of easily accessible and competitive e-stores. I still spend a lot on eBooks but now most of it goes to subscriptions.
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Old 04-27-2017, 07:58 PM   #14
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I don't think anybody really knows what's going on. Numbers like this are unsure at best. We don't know their source and we have lots of reasons to doubt they can have real numbers. It might be true. It might not be. We don't know and I doubt if they know. They might have done their best but how good is that?

The thing is it's in the publisher's interest to push numbers like this so they do it. I have no idea if publishers are behind this article but they're behind a lot of them. Publishers have fought ebooks tooth and nail and they're still fighting and they're probably having more than a little effect.

I think Amazon and B&N and Kobo are as much to blame, for some of the reasons listed above. There are a few ereaders at a few prices and they're all really pretty much the same. Some have a light and some don't but that's really the only important difference. Some are bigger but most are not and even the bigger ones aren't much bigger and where are the smaller ones?

If booksellers weren't the source of our ereaders we'd have a lot more variety and a lot more to choose from.

I don't see any of this changing any time soon but who knows what might happen in the future. Someone might develop a really good phone screen for reading, indoors and out. Or someone might find a way to get Amazon to let them make a competing ereader to read Kindle books. Anything can happen and until it does ereaders aren't really competing very seriously.

Personally I have no doubt that in time, and I have no idea how much time, the world will switch to ebooks for the most part. There'll always be books but ebooks just make too much sense not to win the race in the end. I doubt if it'll happen while we have to get our devices from our book sellers.

Barry
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Old 04-27-2017, 08:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barryem View Post
I don't think anybody really knows what's going on. Numbers like this are unsure at best. We don't know their source and we have lots of reasons to doubt they can have real numbers. It might be true. It might not be. We don't know and I doubt if they know. They might have done their best but how good is that?

The thing is it's in the publisher's interest to push numbers like this so they do it. I have no idea if publishers are behind this article but they're behind a lot of them. Publishers have fought ebooks tooth and nail and they're still fighting and they're probably having more than a little effect.

I think Amazon and B&N and Kobo are as much to blame, for some of the reasons listed above. There are a few ereaders at a few prices and they're all really pretty much the same. Some have a light and some don't but that's really the only important difference. Some are bigger but most are not and even the bigger ones aren't much bigger and where are the smaller ones?

If booksellers weren't the source of our ereaders we'd have a lot more variety and a lot more to choose from.

I don't see any of this changing any time soon but who knows what might happen in the future. Someone might develop a really good phone screen for reading, indoors and out. Or someone might find a way to get Amazon to let them make a competing ereader to read Kindle books. Anything can happen and until it does ereaders aren't really competing very seriously.

Personally I have no doubt that in time, and I have no idea how much time, the world will switch to ebooks for the most part. There'll always be books but ebooks just make too much sense not to win the race in the end. I doubt if it'll happen while we have to get our devices from our book sellers.

Barry
And the 3 posts above yours shows that one person's purchases are down, one is stable and the third one does mostly subscriptions or borrows. So we all still read ebooks.
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