The State of the eBook

Today’s New York Times has an article (login required) which summarises the current ebook scene. It’s a bit light on but canvasses the major reading devices and ebook outlets quite well.

Some points worth noting from my reading of the piece:

1. E-book sales in Q2/2007 were $8.1 million, up from $4 million year-on-year (IDPF).

This sounds pretty good, but the base is still very low. Eight million bucks a quarter for an entire industry is not very much.

2. Ebooks are too expensive. The examples suggest that there is barely any difference between p-book and e-book prices. Until that changes, I suspect the market will remain small (see point 1).

3. It’s all a bit geeky. The range of hardware and software options, with their competing stores and formats makes it all too hard for most people. Yes, people like me will jump through the hoops required to download novels to their Treos. But people like me only add up to a small market (see point 1).

It all feels a bit like the mp3 market pre-iPod.


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