Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

Will the book publishing industry survive?

Good overview of the challenges facing the book publishing industry from Peter Donoughue.

After looking at potential growth:

As far as I can work out the best estimates for growth over the next four to five years is about 70-80% per year. This means that by 2015 publishers’ ebook sales could be $5 billion per year. In the US the total consumer book market is approximately $18 billion and this is not expected to grow much at all over the next five years, so we’re looking at around 30% of the consumer market being ebook sales in just five short years.

He then explores potential sales breakdowns for a fictional publishing company and concludes:

So after five years of aggressive ebook transformation of its fiction and narrative non-fiction list this company is in a steep and serious decline. The more ebooks they sell, the more their total business suffers. It’s a disastrous business scenario.

No wonder publishers are worried and adopting defensive postures…

But after some analysis, Donoughue concludes (and I agree):

I would prefer to see a publishing community characterised by boldness, not by fear; by a sense of opportunity, not of threat; by openness, not protectionism.

One willing to embrace the self-evident fact that ebooks are only worth half the price of a print book; that there’s a large market out there of disaffected, ex-book readers who are ripe for re-capture at far lower price points with today’s technology. Any many of these customers will be new and young and ripe for conversion into committed, life-long readers.

Worth a read…

A Future for Books…

From Gizmodo, an interesting video from design firm IDEO, which suggests a few ways that books might evolve:

These three explorations, from design firm IDEO, each represents a different direction book technology could go. But what they have in common—connectivity, social savvy, interactive features—weave in the tech trends of our times in a way that enhances the read experience without distracting from it.

Click the link to watch the vid 🙂

Don’t try this at home

From the Guardian:

The battle between traditional books and e-reading devices may continue to rage, but a bus driver in Portland, Oregon seems to have made his preference clear, after being caught on camera apparently using his Kindle while driving.

The driver was filmed by a passenger seemingly reading while driving on the city’s I-5 road through rush hour…

Click the link to watch the vid 🙂

A Bookless Library


From Inside Higher Ed, a story about a new library at the University of Texas San Antonio:

San Antonio says it now has the first actual bookless library. Students who stretch out in the library’s ample study spaces — which dominate the floor plan of the new building — and log on to its resource network using their laptops or the library’s 10 public computers will be able to access 425,000 e-books and 18,000 electronic journal articles. Librarians will have offices there and will be available for consultations.

Students used to get their engineering and technology books from a collection at the campus’s main library. That collection is still there, and books from it are available upon request. But at the new library dedicated to that specialty, the only dead trees are in the beams and furniture.

New Sony Readers

As per Engadget, Sony announced some updated Reader hardware today:

Sony’s tweaked its entire Reader line up — the Pocket, Touch, and Daily editions — by adding improved optical touchscreens, speeding up page turns with E Ink Pearl displays and slimming down the brushed aluminum hardware. Beyond that, it’s also updated its Daily Edition with WiFi — there’s still no connectivity options for the other two.