Thursday, May 27, 2010

On E-Book Readers and E-Books

I was reading an article a couple of days ago about E-Book readers and the following comment came up:

"Waterstone's has revealed it has sold more than 700,000 e-books and 60,000 e-book readers since it first started selling them in September 2008.

At Waterstone's supplier conference, held in north London yesterday (24th May), head of e-commerce David Kohn told publishing delegates Waterstone's believed e-books would account for 8% of the book market by 2013. "It's something that could be the greatest single opportunity, not just for Waterstone's, but for everybody here."

This was from an article on The website by Graeme Neill. Needloess to say, it got me thinking about this whole business of E-books.

First of all, these are indeed big numbers. I am, in no way going to argue about that fact. 8% of the book market by 2013 is something that cannot be ignored. Along the same lines, the numbers we have seen recently with the introduction of the new lines of Kindle, Kobo, Sony and iPad are also significant. With that said though, one questions still lingers in my head.

What are they buying and will they continue to buy.

I made a comment several weeks ago that I am wondering how many of these people who got their new e-readers at Christmas were just cashing in their gift cards they received with it? Yes this accounts for sales, but the question remains, will they continue to buy them. I frequently think of the e-readers much in the same way we think of that treadmill we got at Christmas to lose those unwanted pounds. How long does it take before it gets moved to the garage? Will these readers continue to buy books? That question remains to be seen.

Along the same lines, I wonder what they are buying? Are these e-book readers really diving for that new bestseller at full price, or are they waiting for those discounted rates and even free books? I was noticing a while ago that several books that were "FREE" on the Sony site were moving very quickly up the Amazon Bestseller list. Seeing this told me that people are really looking for cheap not the books.

I guess for the writers out there, I wouldn't worry too much about this market. Sure we are seeing more e-book readers out there, and yes, the iPad is really cool, but I for one still believe the real books are still going to be here for a VERY LONG TIME


  1. Unfortunately, I think the plethora of ereaders are leading to more piracy. Go to any of the pirate sites, and you'll be deluged with comments like: "Just got a new ereader and can't wait to download all my favorite authors."

  2. I was initially enamoured with my Sony ereader but after the first few downloads I'm finding I'm still buying the books in the stores. Never have to recharge them, a paperback travels nicely, and you just can't beat the feel of a book in your hands.

    Count me OUT of the 8%.

  3. I am with Leslie. I still like the feel of a book in my hands. As a matter of fact, I just bought two yesterday. Count me OUT of the 8% too!!

    P.S. Karen you're right about the piracy thing.

  4. Karen
    I think with any industry, we will see a huge amount of piracy. People will do anything to get a great deal. I do think the I.T. people will find some solutions, but it will mean putting some locks on books that I frequently hear many e-book authors and publishers not wanting.


  5. Leslie and Bethanie,

    I have to say, I love my Sony. I don't tend to read from it much, but it might simply be due to the other reading I am doing. I do think, with anything else out there, that it takes time to get hooked on something.

    Still, your comments are the exact thing I see many people heading toward.


  6. Ah, I download the newest from the authors I enjoy and I read them from the Sony. I adore being out of the paperback race.
    The waste, the paper, the storage... I'll pay the price for an e-book and consider it as good as paper. Better! I don't have to store it if I think I may want to reread it, figure out what to do with it after I read it, who might be interested...

    I would be happy to never buy a hardback or paperback again.

    I love my Sony!


  7. I received a Sony Reader as a present last year (after stating I didn't want one) and I've yet to use it. I don't like the way the page looks on the screen, I don't like having another device I have to hook to my laptop, and there is the recharging issue someone else mentioned.

    I've been buying books for a very long time and I will continue to buy books for many years to come. I have a feeling generations behind mind who grow up with these will eventually have more of an impact on the book v. ebook scenario, but I also think that's a long way off.

  8. There will always be a small percentage of readers who go back to paper as long as paper books are around and affordable, but many of the people I know who own ereaders, and I know hundreds through various reader lists I'm on, love ebooks, prefer an ebook to paper, and they are spending lots of money on the ebooks.

    Most readers I know who realize pirate sites hurt the author and hurt them by putting authors out of business don't patronize these sites and are as likely to report them as the authors being stolen from. God bless them!

    Format doesn't matter with pirated books. Scanned paper books are as likely to be pirated as ebooks with or without DRM security.

  9. I'm always surprised by the either-or quality of many discussions on e-publishing.
    Surely, the more formats available to the reader the better.