Nostradamus Predicts: E-book Sales Remain Strong in 2013

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Century 11,   Quatrain 12

Man will run in circles

The hand will contain the Oracle

Fire, Smoke, Serpents, Knowledge will rise from the hand

The Rise of the Amazonian will foretell a diminution of the Apple

Digital Book World has done what many other entities will be doing in the next few weeks as year 2012 winds down:  playing Nostradamus and predicting what will happen in the future (year 2013) with e-books.  I always think it is a good idea to pay attention to these predictions, if only to be on the sideline jeering when the final reality is nothing like the prediction.

First, let’s put aside any illusions we have that print books will make a huge comeback to 2003 levels by some sheer act of magic.  This pipe dream is never going to happen.  E-books serve a purpose and give the instant gratification crowd exactly what they want: content purchases at any time or place in the book consuming continuum.  Now, as I have said in previous posts, The Book Kahuna is all about giving people what they want in the format that they want any way they want to read it.  That being said, I do believe that there is an innate symbiosis between print books and e-books.  E-books help to market the print books, and print books help to market the e-books.  Sometimes a good e-book will give consumers food for thought on what would be a great book to have physically sitting around the house.

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One thing that is not mentioned much here in the US is that there are 5 cell phones for every person on planet Earth at this place in time.  Most of those cell phones reside somewhere other than the United States.  These cell phones outside the US are using Apps to read books.  When I first heard this in class last year, my immediate reaction was one of astonishment.  Who would actually want to read a book on a device that has a screen area that is 2″ x 2″?  Apparently there are a multitude of people in the world who are clamoring for downloads to their i-phones.

Will dedicated e-readers be a mode of transmission for e-book downloads in the future?  Probably not as publishers put research dollars into creating Apps that will fill the niche for them in the international marketplace.  Also, the continued rise in the sale of tablets will also preclude the current crop of companies making e-readers to readjust their thinking and have a dual pronged approach to future e-book sales.  One prong would be based on those consumers still using dedicated e-readers, while the other prong would be App development and implementation.

I do think the trends are pointing to a saturated marketplace though.  As more US consumers have an e-reader at home, studies have shown that e-book purchases occur immediately in the first six months after the reader has been purchased.  After that time frame, there is a precipitous drop off on continued purchases.  If the consumer upgrades to a tablet or an Ipad as a possible next reading device, there is no guarantee that e-book purchases will have an up-tick because of the multiplicity of functions these devices provide.  The sad reality is that “Angry Birds” will trump Dickens in the marketplace on a tablet.

What is the answer to the e-book riddle?  Only Nostradamus holds the clue, and the quatrains are not giving up the answers easily.  Please forgive my attempt at Nostradamus to start this post off, I cannot tell what happened 15 minutes ago, much less what will happen to e-books in 2013.  The one thing I can say is that it will be entertaining to watch what unfolds, so have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a Happy Holiday whatever you celebrate.  Make a pledge to read more next year in whatever format you choose.  You will thank yourself later…

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The Book Kahuna


1 Comment

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One response to “Nostradamus Predicts: E-book Sales Remain Strong in 2013

  1. e-readers sure make it hard to do book signings! haha. Although I love paper because of the feel, I love the e-reader when it comes to travel. I can now find a book I want to read – I’m not at the mercy of the airport bookstore. ALSO less bulk.

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