With the diminished place of bookstores in the publishing industry ecosystem, the new book discovery landscape is shifting, according to new data from the Codex group, a book industry information firm. At the same time, publishers are spending more than ever on advertising on e-reading devices.
As recently as two years ago, a third of new books were discovered in physical bookstores. Two years later, that number has shrunk to a fifth.
“In the past, we got a free ride from our retailers,” said Peter Hildick-Smith, founder and CEO of Codex Group, speaking at the Digital Book World Conference + Expo.
While physical discovery has decreased over the past few years, digital discovery has increased. About one in six new books are discovered online in some form (social media, online retail, etc.) now, up from about one in ten two years ago.
One wrinkle in this narrative is that while physical retail discovery is decreasing, online retail discovery is relatively flat over the past two years, despite the increase in ebook buying and device ownership.
“Something is seriously missing with online retail discovery. It’s not working,” said Hildick-Smith.
Yet, publishers are spending more than ever on advertising on e-reading devices: $665 million in 2012 versus $286 million two year ago.
While more than half of books — ebooks and print books — are bought online in some form, a much lower proportion of discovery occurs in those venues. On the Web but outside of online retail spaces, readers are discovering new books social networks, especially those like Goodreads, which focuses on books.