I see so many threads about paper books dying out in favor of eBooks and leading to the demise of publishers, I thought I’d check it out.
It would seem these fears are unfounded.
EBooks are only big business in America, but there is an argument that e-readers are actually expanding the book reading market in the US. Germany, the largest book market in Europe has yet to get off the mark with eBooks, which currently account for a tiny percentage of the total books sold. The same is true of Brazil, which is in the top five of book markets in the world. E-readers there cost from $500 dollars to $1500. Until last year, the only e-reader on the market there had only 200 books in their catalogue. England, which is in the top ten book markets, is only just starting to get off the mark.
From what I can see, the biggest influence on the demise of book stores in the US and England is both the financial crisis and the supermarkets venturing into book sales, not to mention the rise of Amazon. Maybe we fail to take a worldview of the market place and it taints our view of what is actually happening in the world book market? Think about the mega sellers that are translated into 140 languages. Not all countries have taken to e-readers. But one thing is for sure, publishers will drain every ounce of profit they can from eBooks.
A recent example is the publisher of Harry Potter books. A year ago the made around 10,000 from eBooks. The following year they formatted 1,900 books as eBooks and made 1.3 million. Ebooks are just another string to their bow. This is still dwarfed when you consider Rowling has made 400 million from her paper books, after translation to approx 140 languages. Just think what her publisher must have made.
I wouldn’t even cry for the large bookselling stores. Barnes and noble have invested around 140 million in the eBook market to hedge their bets on survival.
Some chains may go to the wall in America, but the slack will be taken up by the Independent book stores and supermarkets. Lets be honest, would you give your child an eReader and trust them not to break it. Children will still be bought paper books and will take the satisfaction of the experience into their adult life. Of course we are talking about the fully developed world here. Spare a thought for those in poor countries where eReaders don’t exist.
The fact is the world market for paper books is over 60 billion and rising year on year. What was the old saying. “There’s one born every minute.” Population growth will ensure paper books continue to rise in volume year on year. And like I said, America is only one market. It is not the world.
I think the only good thing about eBooks is that it has given the likes of me the chance to self-publish.