Ebook Growth Continues to Slow Across Trade

Gone are the days of triple-digit ebook growth.
According to the latest numbers from the Association of American Publishers, adult trade ebook revenue only grew by 48% in July 2012 versus the same period last year. For any business, that kind of growth in just a year would be stupendous; but the ebook business has had four straight years of triple digit growth.
Even children’s ebooks, which have lagged in growth versus their adult counterparts, dipped below the triple-digit threshold for the first month this year, “only” increasing revenues 89% in July 2012 versus the same period last year. Children’s ebook growth had been at a furious pace in the first half of the year mostly due, we think, to The Hunger Games. Now that that best-seller is finally falling off the list, children’s ebook growth is coming back down from the upper atmosphere – not quite all the way to earth but almost. Children’s ebook growth year-to-date is still 222%.
Ebooks are still propelling growth across the trade, too. The entire trade is up 13% year-to-date versus last year – a note to those who have been predicting gloom and doom for trade publishing.
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The rest of the day’s top news:
Ebook Licensing Pushing Consumers Toward Breaking DRM (The Economist)
Consumers are increasingly irked by knowledge that they don’t own their ebooks and other digital content. There is no digital rights management software that hasn’t been broken and more consumers are figuring out how to do it.
The Crazy World of Book Pricing (Bloomberg)
One author of a book from University of Texas Press has watched in disbelief as the price for the hardcover and ebook edition of his title bounced around like a pinball in a machine about to go tilt.
Emerging Markets Key to Random Penguin (Pub Perspectives)
Random House has a strong presence in South and Latin America. Penguin is strong in China, India and Brazil. Growing into a truly global business was part of the impetus behind the Penguin-Random House merger.

Ebook Growth Too Slow in Vietnam (SGP Daily)
Despite strenuous and creative efforts by local publishers and booksellers, ebooks just haven’t taken off yet in Vietnam, says the Communist party’s organ. The culprits? Onerous purchasing and uploading procedures; piracy; and windowing of titles so the ebook edition is available months after the paperback.
Could Erotic Fiction Jump-Start Israeli Ebook Market? (Haaretz)
Fifty Shades of Grey has become a best-seller on sleepy e-bookseller E-vrit (the name is a play on the Hebrew word for “Hebrew”). Both ebooks and erotic romance puns are hitting the small country with full force.
New Launch: Inkling Library (TechCrunch)
Illustrated ebook and e-textbook publisher and content management platform firm Inkling has launched the “Inkling Library,” which offers some 300 illustrated and interactive titles for sale. Users can buy the entire works or buy them by the chapter. Inkling hopes to have 400 by the end of the year.
Texas State University E-Textbook Experiment (University Star)
Some Texas State students will be carrying a lighter course-load next semester – literally. The institution will be experimenting with Courseload, a vendor that supplies e-textbooks and other materials for classes. If Texas students are like others around the country, the pilot program will meet with student disapproval.
ebrary Wins Recognition from Library Journal (DBW)
ebrary’s Academic Complete digital library has been named “Best E-Book Database” by Library Journal. The collection was started a decade ago and used a trademarked ebook acquisition approach: Transition, Diversify, and Streamline.

The Week That Was (JaneFriedman.com)
What a week. Between Sandy and Random Penguin, it was one of the most eventful weeks for publishing in recent memory. Get all the details in this week’s Writing on the Ether.
Penguin Office Still Closed, Company Open (DBW)
An update on Penguin’s operations from a company spokesperson: Office closed, company open. Related: S&S Starts to Recover.

From Ebooks to R-Books (Techeblog.com)
If you are unable to be at home to read to your kids before bed, with a little effort, you can program your tablet computer to read to them – even in your own voice. In the future, you might be able to have a robot version of you do it instead.

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