This isn’t exactly surprising but it’s still something of a wow moment. n the one hand Sony is in retreat in more areas than just ereading so, what’s so newsworthy about this but on the other the fact that one of the pioneers of digital books has called it a day and is effectively pulling out is notable. And that Kobo would appear to be the emerging only viable candidate t rival Amazon is also notable:
Although we’re sorry to say goodbye to the Reader Store, we’re also glad to share the new and exciting future for our readers: Reader Store will transfer customers to Toronto-based eReading company, Kobo—an admired eBook seller with a passionate reading community. We strongly believe that this transition will allow customers to enjoy a continued high-quality e-reading experience. As a result of this change, we will close Reader Store in the U.S. and Canada on March 20, 2014 at 6 p.m. (EST).
via The Future of Reader Store | Sony.
Think of it like the horseless carriage! I think that line about the real innovation is where it’s at:
“The real innovation in e-readers has been giving consumers a convenient way to buy books, wirelessly, without even having to use their computers,” says Sarah Rotman Epps, a Forrester Research analyst. “Giving consumers a digital storefront right in their hands, that’s what really made e-readers a phenomenon.”
But tastes and technology have moved on. People haven’t stopped reading. They are just increasingly likely to read e-books on tablets rather than e-readers, according to a recent Pew Research Center report. The polling firm found that 23% of Americans said they had read e-books in 2012, compared with 16% in 2011
via The E-Reader Revolution: Over Just as It Has Begun? – WSJ.com.
Great post from Brett Sandusky here. I disagree with some of it, but the main thrust I agree with very much:
What I hope will be coming down the pike is not just an acceptance of direct-to-consumer as an necessary channel, but what I’ll call for now the curated distribution experience. Right now, we take so much time to polish our content and our products, and then we just throw away. All this content curation we’re doing or at the very least talking about makes no sense at all if we simply hand over the UX ownership to retailers and their locked devices. In fact, not owning the whole customer experience with regards to digital has basically reduced us to little more than book packagers for our retail partners. And, we’re not even getting paid for it.
via The Biggest Lie in Publishing | brett sandusky.
You would be forgiven if you read this piece and thought afterwards that the only print books sold in bookshops were literary fiction and non-fiction and the bulk of them Booker prize winners. Of course we know this isn’t true and just as readers of digital books like their genre fiction, so too do print book readers.
I honestly struggle to see the point of such articles. Shock horror they seem to say, people read the same crap they read in print form in this new digital form:
There is a literary snobbishness at play here, clearly. Reading has always been a competitive sport. Why else would anyone have read Ulysses? Consider those boys who read ostentatious poetry to pull winsome girls; the girls who read Vanity Fair to let the poetical boys know that they are clever and minxy.
The reading public in private is lazy and smutty. E-readers hide the material. Erotica sells well. My own downmarket literary fetish is male-oriented historical fiction histfic. Swords and sails stuff. Im happier reading it on an e-reader, and keeping shelf space for books that proclaim my cleverness.
via Ebook sales are being driven by downmarket genre fiction | Media | The Guardian.
There has been some grumbling (I’ve a note coming on that later) about the slow pace of digital take up in the US in the last few days and weeks. I’ve a feeling that has as much to do with the now higher benchmarks the digital market is growing from.
By which I mean if the ebook market is worth $1 million then to double it need only increase by $1 million however when the market is $100 million it needs to increase by $100 million to double and when it is a $1 billion it must grow by a full $1 billion in order to double. Needless to say whereas $1 million in increased sales is hard to find, $1 billion is considerably harder.
On top of that, there is a real need to break analysis into markets to account for different market conditions. The UK is not the US and Ireland is not the UK. What’s more a UK publisher must react to UK market conditions. This has echoes of some of my thoughts about different rates of digital change from 2010. For instance, the UK is in the midst of a huge shift to digital BUT that shift has really happened over the last few months. 1.3 million ereaders were sold over the Christmas period and the UK market has as a consequence flourished since December.
Which makes the Quercus numbers all the more interesting. In 2011 digital sales accounted for 11% of their revenue, but grew 270% in December 2011 when compared to December 2010 promising a nice digital year in 2012.
We continue to benefit from our significant investments in digital publishing and marketing, website development and social networking. For the year as a whole, Quercus generated approximately 11% of its income from digital revenues, while the growth in ownership of eReading devices over the Christmas period contributed to an increase in eBook sales of 270% in comparison with the previous December.
via Quercus Christmas trading update | Quercus Books.
It’s entirely possible that many of those ereaders will remain idle, many will fall out of use, but enough will remain active to shift yet more readers who were once print dedicated into either digital dedicated reading or hybrid print/digital status. If those readers are heavy readers (as I suspect they will primarily be, after all why give someone who reads one book a year an ereader?) that will shift considerable numbers of digital units in 2012.
So the UK situation is very different to the US situation. We should avoid blanket statements.