Ebooks at 50%?

According to the Pew Internet & American Life’s latest numbers, 23% of U.S. adults have read ebooks. According to numbers from the Association of American Publishers, ebooks account for about 20% to 25% of all trade book sales.

So why are agents saying ebooks are at something like 50%? Well, specifically, a panel of agents told industry consultant and Digital Book World partner Mike Shatzkin that for fiction titles, ebook sales account for 50% or more of the total. For nonfiction, the agents say it’s more like 25%.

At that rate, Shatzkin estimates that about 35% of fiction is sold in bricks-and-mortar stores (since some of it is sold in print online). And of that 35%, some of it is stores like Target and Wal-Mart. The question is, what is the minimum percentage of total fiction sales happening in stores that can sustain the current bookstore ecosystem?

If only 10% of fiction is being sold in bookstores at some point, would that support all the distribution infrastructure (warehouses, trucks), packaging infrastructure, sales infrastructure and, most importantly, the bookstores themselves, which have to pay rent, employees and other bills?

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The rest of the day’s top news:
Days of the $14.99 Ebook Numbered? (Forbes)
Ebooks priced over $10 are an endangered species. Find out what’s happening to them and what’s taking their place. We’ll be discussing in detail this exact issue at DBW2013 on Wednesday, Jan. 16. If you can’t be there in person, stream it!
Kids Reading Ebooks Doubles (DBW)
According to a biannual report from Scholastic, the percentage of children reading ebooks has doubled from two years ago to 46%. That’s also double the number of U.S. adults Pew says are reading ebooks. In two days, at DBW2013, we will present a comprehensive new report on parents and children and e-reading.  (Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 1:30 P.M.: The ABC’s of Kids & Ebooks: New Data and Research on the Children’s Book Market)

Just the Beginning (Mediabistro)
According to Stefan Kanfer, an author famous for his biographies of celebrities Lucille Ball and Humphrey Bogart, says that the “ebook revolution is barely underway.” He says that this year will see huge growth in ebook and e-reader sales. While he may be misinformed on the latter, the former remains to be seen. 

Fighting Piracy Equals More Ebook Sales (DBW)
At least one publishers – RosettaBooks – is reporting a rise in ebook sales after a drop in piracy. Responsible for the drop is the software vendor Attributor, which helps publishers of all kinds of media reduce piracy. 

Ebook Kiosks Around the Corner? (DBW)
EBay has created several kiosks dedicated to a variety of products and services. How long before readers can approach an ebook kiosk and be able to browse a downloadable library?

The Google Books Story (GigaOm)
Ambitious is an understatement for Google’s Google Books project: Scan the world’s books and make them searchable. In this excerpt from GigaOm’s new book on the subject, author Jeff John Roberts, takes us to a decade after the project was initiated, when Google’s allies began to turn against it.

InDesign-to-Ebook Resources (DBW)
Ebook production is a fairly new skill for many production managers. Luckily, the Web offers a plethora of resources to help you along. Even more lucky for you, dear readers of the DBW Daily, we’ve gathered them all in one spot for your convenience. 

Become a Better Publishing Technologist (Pub Perspectives)
In this first post in a series on how technologists in publishing can get better at what they do, publishing technologist Nick Ruffilo takes us through some of the basics. 

Tumblr: Getting More Supportive of Books (MediaShift)
Tumblr is now a mature source of the next great book after spawning many successes, like Garfield Without Garfield and Hipster Cats. The blogging platform is now becoming even more supportive of books. 

Audiobooks.com Launches Two New Subscription Models (DBW)
For $14.95 a month, users can listen to one audiobook. It’s $22.95 for two.
Are You an Above-Average Reader? (BookRiot)
If you’ve read 11 or more books in the past year, you’re in the top 27% of all Americans. What makes you a one-percenter? Fifty? One hundred? More? That’s an elite category we’d all like to be a part of.

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