Ebook Growth Slows to Crawl in Q1: What Does It Mean?

shutterstock_62929558At some point in the middle of 2012, ebooks stopped showing explosive growth numbers across trade publishing, making some in the industry nervous that the wild ride that took ebooks from nothing to a huge force in the industry might be over.
The first quarter results from the Association of American Publishers confirms it: Ebook revenues in the U.S. won’t be doubling or tripling again any time soon. The boom times are coming to an end.
This is both good news and bad news for publishers:
The bad news is that the time for finding areas of quick and easy growth due to the rise of digital reading is basically over. Yes, books will continue to sell well digitally, but there will be more competition for readers’ attention, even as the growth in those readers and their attention slows.
The good news is that the threat to the entire physical book ecosystem is now over – or at least put off – and publishers can go back to spending less of their time wondering whether they’ll be out of business in six months. It’s time now to start honing those digital disciplines and building strong publishing businesses. On a related note…
Attend the Digital Book World Marketing + Publishing Services Conference & Expo in New York on September 26. It’s time to move your business forward.

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The rest of the day’s top news:

Looking to the Next Generation of Readers (DBW, video)
BookRiot, the successful bookish media site with a huge social media presence, appeals to a younger, hipper demographic. Why? BookRiot senior editor Rebecca Schinsky explains: The next generations loves books, too.
Pew: Digital Tools Help Students (DBW)
Teachers are reporting that use of digital technologies like tablets, smartphones and laptops can help them help kids improve their writing skills. There are some other astounding findings from this new Pew study, like the percentage of teachers who integrate smartphones into their lessons. Read more.
Rise of the Pirates (DBW)
According to a new report from the Book Industry Study Group, incidents of students pirating class materials are on the rise.
Barnes & Noble to Department Store? (Harvard Business Review)
According to one commentator, Barnes & Noble should copy Canada’s Indigo and become more of a department store, or a cultural mini-mall, leasing out sections to subject matter experts who run them, rather than just a bookstore. The other option? Liquidation.
Freethy Signs With Nelson (Pub Perspectives)
This is another example of a savvy hybrid author carving out an advantageous relationship to help build her business.
Related: What Hybrid Authors Want, the Full Report.

Sourcebooks Makes Berenstain Personal (DBW)
Sourcebooks has added Berenstain Bears to the list of brands that are now part of the Put Me in the Story personalization platform.
Me Books Crosses the Pond (DBW)
UK children’s digital start-up Me Books has now officially launched in the U.S.
Goodreads Sued (paidContent)
The leading book social networking site has been sued for an in-copyright picture posted by one of its members. The company is unlikely to lose the case.
FREE Webcast: Print-to-Digital Strategy (DBW)
Publishers need a unified content strategy in order to prepare their content for multichannel delivery. But, what may work for one publisher, may not be the right strategy for another. Learn more.
HarperCollins Goes All in on Digital Book Signings (DBW)
HarperCollins has deepened its relationship with digital book signing vendor Autography and will now offer the service across all its imprints.
McGraw-Hill Snags Ex-Cengage Exec (Pub Lunch)
Ken Brooks is the new senior vice president of global supply chain management at McGraw-Hill. He had been in a similar position at troubled rival Cengage.
Ebook Rental Market Heating up in Denmark (The Digital Reader)
An established ebook retailer, Riidr, goes toe-to-toe with start-up Mofibo in the Denmark ebook market. Both have launched “Spotify-for-ebooks”-like services just this month.
SPi Global Consolidates (DBW)
Brands like Laserwords are no more as the ebook vendor is consolidating its acquisitions.


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