Welcome to Friday Debate, a feature on cup of tea with that book, please, where every Friday a question will be posted that tantalize the brain and expands our horizons. For this week’s question: Continue reading “Friday Debate: Reading Across Formats”
When I first heard that Amazon was opening bookstores, this was my initial reaction:
By creating their online business, Amazon has cornered a huge market of book buying which most of the purchasing is done online. So why would Amazon take the risk of opening a brick and mortar bookstore, especially when a lot of them have been closing and people continue to fear their extinction?
Those who said the printed word was dead might want to take that back.
A news report suggests that people are ditching e-books and are returning to the good old fashioned printed books. E-book sales have declined 18.7% in the U.S. over a period of nine months in the beginning of 2016, according to the Association of American Publishers. While e-books’ sales decreased, paperbacks and hardcovers sales increased.
A similar trend occurred in the UK. As reported by the Guardian newspaper:
Sales of consumer ebooks plunged 17% to £204m last year, the lowest level since 2011 – the year the ebook craze took off as Jeff Bezos’ market-dominating Amazon Kindle took the UK by storm.
It is the second year running that sales of consumer ebooks – the biggest segment of the £538m ebook market, which fell 3% last year – have slumped as commuters, holidaymakers and leisure readers shelve digital editions in favour of good old fashioned print novels.
The company that was tagged the “Netflix for books” is closing the book. Literally.
Oyster announced that there online book subscription service will be shutting down and offering refunds to their customers over the next few weeks. As reported:
The news comes as a bit of a surprise—Oyster was one of the major players in the e-book subscription space along with San Francisco startup Scribd and Amazon, which offers all-you-can eat reading through Kindle Unlimited. Unlike Amazon, however, Oyster had the backing of the Big Five publishers—Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster—who offered their books on the service. (The Big Five also work with Scribd.) The e-book subscription business model is based on paying publishers a sum of money after “a fair portion” of a book is read, as well as sharing anonymized reading activity with publishers to help them target readers.”
Unfortunately, this is not a surprise. With better services out there (*cough* your public library), these type of online book subscriptions don’t appear to have a viable future. Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited and Scribd are still continuing, but you have to wonder for how long.
To read the full article, you can find it here.
I thought this news report would mix well with this week’s Weekly Tea Discussion.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal:
When the world’s largest publishers struck e-book distribution deals with Amazon.com Inc. over the past several months, they seemed to get what they wanted: the right to set the prices of their titles and avoid the steep discounts the online retail giant often applies.
But in the early going, that strategy doesn’t appear to be paying off. Three big publishers that signed new pacts with Amazon— Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group, News Corp ’s HarperCollins Publishers and CBS Corp. ’s Simon & Schuster—reported declining e-book revenue in their latest reporting periods.
“The new business model for e-books is having a significant impact on what [the big] publishers report,” said one publishing executive. “There’s no question that publishers’ net receipts have gone down.”
A recent snapshot of e-book prices found that titles in the Kindle bookstore from the five biggest publishers cost, on average, $10.81, while all other 2015 e-books on the site had an average price of $4.95, according to industry researcher Codex Group LLC.
“Since book buyers expect the price of a Kindle e-book to be well under $9, once you get to over $10 consumers start to say, ‘Let me think about that,’” said Codex CEO Peter Hildick-Smith.”
If you noticed by the infograph created by the newspaper, you really see no difference in pricing between an e-book and a hardcover:
This is why my purchasing of ebooks has decreased. There really isn’t that much of a difference. You might as well buy the hard copy.
Publishers fought so hard for the right to set e-book prices. They won but I can’t help but think they ended up being the losers in the situation.
As publishers game out e-book pricing, the stakes are high for authors and agents. “I want my clients’ books to be sold for as high a value as possible, but the important word is sold,” said Richard Pine, an agent at Inkwell Management.”
To read the full article, you can find it here.