Mark Coker continues to be one of the smartest and most insightful thinkers on ebooks, what they mean and where they are going. His predictions post for 2014 is interesting but this point in particular strikes me as very relevant:
Ebook growth slows – Here comes the hangover. After a decade of exponential growth in ebooks with indies partying like it was 1999, growth is slowing. We all knew this day was coming. Year over year growth of 100% to 300% a year could not continue forever. The hazard of fast-growing market is that it can mask flaws in business models. It can cause players to misinterpret their success, and the assumptions upon which they credit their success. It can cause successful players to draw false correlations between cause and effect. Who are these players? I’m talking about authors, publishers, retailers, distributors and service providers – all of us. It’s easy to succeed when everything’s growing. It’s when things slow-down that your mettle is tested. The market is slowing. A normal cyclical shakeout is coming. Rather than fear the shakeout, embrace it. Let it spur you on to become a better, more competitive player in 2014. Players who survive shakeouts usually come out stronger the other end.
via Smashwords: 2014 Book Publishing Industry Predictions – Price Drops to Impact Competitive Dynamics.
Interesting stuff this:
Analysing reading data is playing a crucial role in the evolutionary growth in Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For years, those two companies have been guarding their data and not relaying it to their publishing friends. This data is exploited to promote books that are fashionable in any given day and the ones people tend to read, cover to cover.
Scribd has only been offering their eBook subscription platform in October and already they are massing a treasure trove of data. The longer a mystery novel is, the more likely readers are to jump to the end to see who done it. People are more likely to finish biographies than business titles, but a chapter of a yoga book is all they need. They speed through romances faster than religious titles, and erotica fastest of all. “We’re going to be pretty open about sharing this data so people can use it to publish better books,” said Trip Adler, Scribd’s chief executive.
via New Startups Focus on Tracking eBook Reading Data.
Dorchester, an excellent but undercapitalized publisher of mass market paperbacks in such popular genres as romance, horror, thrillers and westerns had been struggling for some time as returns hammered it relentlessly and digital books ate further into its margins. Milliot reports that the editorial team will remain intact but in all likelihood the monthly releases will drop from 30 to 25.
If Dorchester follows its digital decision, monthly releases are not the only thing that’s going to drop. Everything about the company’s operation will shrink if not implode. And yet, oddly, that will not necessarily be a bad thing. In the new paradigm, direct-to-consumer publishing means higher profits because all intermediaries (distributors, bookstores, etc.) are eliminated. E-Reads knows this: we’ve been doing it since 2000.
via The Incredible Shrinking Publisher | Publishing In the 21st Century.