Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ebook Sales explosive Growth

There is a great graph in this article from Paid Content showing how ebook sales are on an exponential growth path. The US is ahead of the field but  Europe and the rest of the world are sure to follow.

Having recently been won over to ebooks myself this comes as no surprise to me but speaking as a consumer I remain convinced that two things have yet to happen for the market to really mature:

1. The ebook market needs standardisation. The fragmentation of the market into incompatible formats and incompatible readers has to go.


2. The pricing of ebooks has to get realistic. The production and distribution costs of ebooks are only a fraction of that of a paper book. Pass these savings onto the customer please.

These two issues are not unconnected. Holding onto incompatible proprietary formats allows publishers and booksellers to enjoy a price premium. I suspect that competition will eventually force publishers and booksellers to embrace the new economic reality. Smart phones and tablet computers are a major stepping stone here. In the past if you bought a Kindle or a Nook your were tied to that bookstore. If you read on a tablet computer or smartphone you can install the Kindle app and the Nook app and the Kobo app and a range of other book readers. It is still a pain in the neck to have to juggle all those formats but at least it introduces some competition.

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