Ebook Growth Continues Slowdown Through Summer, Still Huge

It’s been the theme all year: Growth in ebooks is slowing. And it’s true. After many straight years of triple-digit revenue growth for ebooks across the adult book trade, growth has finally dipped to a “modest” 37% so far in 2012 (through August, according to the latest numbers from the Association of American Publishers).
It should be said, however, that we’re talking about 37% growth on a base of $627 million. Ebooks were nowhere near that in August 2010; they were closer to $260 million, though the AAP measured the ebook numbers differently then.
As ebooks become a bigger piece of the publishing pie, growth as a percentage of the previous year’s total will continue to slow. But a 25% increase on $2 billion (basically where ebooks across the trade are headed this year) is about the same in actual dollars as a roughly 100% increase on $450 million (2011 vs. 2010).

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The rest of the day’s top news:

Goodreads Power Brokers (DBW)
Goodreads is increasingly becoming an important place for publishers to conduct their marketing. Its readers, the power behind the site, have spoken and chosen the best books and authors of 2012. Related: Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler on the Future of Discoverability.

Amazon Gives Publishers a Hand (Good E Reader)
Most readers don’t know who or what Hachette is (“hatchet?”), but they soon might. Amazon is rolling out brand pages, which publishers can utilize to build their brands.
Serials Gain Traction (Pub Perspectives)
As more readers are getting used to the idea of serials and the model gets support from retailers like Amazon, they’re taking off. With ability to incorporate user feedback into the plot and characters as the serial rolls out is one of several advantages to the model.

The Breaking Point for Bookstores (The Atlantic)
Nashville, home to Ingram, one of the largest book distributors in the world, found itself without a bookstore after the closings of the last two in town (one of them a Borders). There was a void to fill and writer Ann Patchett is filling it with the help of some local partners and Stephen Colbert. 

New Business Models (The Shatzkin Files)
Publishing houses have been slowly but surely experimenting with new business models, exemplified by a deal last week between Simon & Schuster and Author Solutions.

Ex-Google Chief on Digital Future (DBW)
Ex-Google chief executive Eric Schmidt is collaborating with Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas, on a forthcoming book on the future of technology. Schmidt, who is currently executive chairman of the company, will see his book hit shelves on April 23, 2013.

Meet the New Book (Campus Technology)
New print textbooks continue their decline, giving way to digital textbooks and textbook rentals. 

Not Into E.L. James (YouTube)
Washington Post literary critic Ron Charles isn’t into E.L. James as Publishers Weekly’s pick for publishing person of the year. He says “laters, baby” to the choice in this amusing video.
Holiday Spirit (YouTube)
Once the height of library sciences technology, card catalogs are now the “old” with which we are currently out (…in with the new). They can still be put to good use. One library in Poland has found a creative and festive way.
Image credit: turtle image via Shutterstock


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