Publishing Expert Mike Shatzkin Predicts Ebook Dominance Within 5 Years

March 6, 2012
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The Change Function: Why Some Technologies Take Off and Others Crash and BurnMike Shatzkin, of The Idea Logical Company, has been a publishing professional for nearly 50 years, and in that time he’s seen major upheavals and technology impacts in the trade publishing business.

In a recent blog post, Shatzkin has this to say about the future of ebooks versus print, and online versus brick-and-mortar store sales of books:

My own expectation is that over the next five years we’ll see the share of sales that are ebooks more than double. (This should be seen as a startlingly conservative prediction, since that number has doubled annually for the past five years!) That would put ebook unit sales at about 65% for commercial immersive reading. (I’m grossing up the 20% of revenue number the big houses are reporting because ebooks produce less revenue than print hardcovers and because many titles in the print revenue base aren’t in the ebook revenue base.)

Of the remaining 35% allocated to print, I’d expect half of the sales, at least, to be online. If those numbers are right, then 17.5% of immersive book sales would be in brick stores.

If Amazon remains about 60% of ebook sales and 90% of print books sold online, that would put their share of immersive reading sales at about 50%. And were a book available in Kindle that people knew about and wanted to read and not available in other formats, Amazon could pick up a lot of the ebook sales they would otherwise miss. (Remember, anybody using a Nook or Kobo app as opposed to a Nook or Kobo device could just switch to the Kindle app to read that particular book.) All that is really hard for them to capture is the 17.5% allocated here for print sold in stores. And even the loss of that share wouldn’t be total, since, for any really big book, in-store buyers would buy online if they had to. So they’d be in a position to reach well more than 70%, perhaps even more than 80%, of the market for all books that are principally text. (And those are the books that lead the industry.)

Read the full post here, on The Shatzkin Files blog. And as a Kindle or Kindle Fire owner, pat yourself on the back for being ahead of the curve.

 

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