The Bookseller

Go read This | Tough deal – The Bookseller

Lovely piece by Jude Rogers in The Bookseller that illustrates exactly how much the industry has changed over the last decade or so. Really worth considering:

Take what happened to us in 2007. Before then, we would hand-deliver 340 copies of every issue of Smoke to Malcolm Hopkins, the wonderful magazine buyer at Borders Oxford Street. He shelved them well, and every one would sell—a good return for both parties. But then we received a letter from Borders head office saying that, in future, branches would not accept deliveries direct from publishers; we would need to use a “recognised distributor” instead. Malcolm left, and the last issue we’d hand-delivered was left in the storeroom; over half came back as returns.

This was at a time when our sales were increasing elsewhere. And what a grim irony it was that Borders went bust not long after its approach became so impersonal.

via Tough deal | The Bookseller.

Go Read This |The adjusters

Rather nice piece from Philip Jones, a bit of a kick for everyone along with a solid dose of realism and practicality:

Booksellers must find ways to emphasise their uniqueness: the smart ones offer an experience at the heart of which is the content and the theatre. But they must do this in an environment that is unsparingly tough, with customers who have a myriad of choices not just about who they buy from, but what format they use.

via The adjusters | The Bookseller.

Putting Things In Perspective | E-book sales data, the truth is out there | FutureBook

The Bookseller released publisher sourced data on ebook sales. There’s reason to be somewhat skeptical of the information in the sense that it is seller supplied and while non-one is saying it, there is the minute danger that some padding or exaggeration could creep in. However, the reality is that these figures are probably a very good approximation of where sales are in the UK (with the caveat as The Bookseller notes, that self-publishers are not represented*):

The basic numbers are clear. The data shows that the e-book market for traditionally published digital books is much bigger than previously thought, with estimates suggesting that a total number of 65 million e-books were sold in 2012, representing a value of about £200m – at least double what it was in 2011 in volume terms more than double. That would mean the overall book market grew in 2012, despite spending on print books falling £74m.

via E-book sales data, the truth is out there | FutureBook.

To put that in perspective, Nielsen released figures for the 2012 calendar year in Ireland that put sales at “a total of €123.4m and 11.5m units in 2012.”

Even allow for the fact that the Nielsen numbers for Ireland are widely seen as covering maybe 80% of sales, we can assume fairly happily that Irish print sales were well less that €150m and 15m units at the retail level.

Which when you think about it means that the ebook market, just for the UK is already bigger than the entire print market in Ireland. There’s no reason an Irish publisher cant attack that space aggressively and with relevant ebooks just as well as a UK based publisher.

What’s more, even if we assume a smaller growth rate for that digital share (say 10 or 20% in 2013) the market will STILL be larger than the Irish market and the space for growth is STILL more significant that that for most Irish publishers in print form.

Publishers committed to print or still unconvinced by digital sales, the alarm is ringing and you’ve pressed snooze once too many times, ignore it once more and the alarm will stop warning you and you’ll sleep through this change!

 

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*They’ve also excluded some 20p bestsellers. Which I find a little odd, but I can see where they were coming from. Personally, I would have included them.

Easons Will NOT Be Building A Platform For Ebooks Anytime Soon

Waterstones decided to team up with Amazon and one of most compelling reasons for that was the sheer cost of developing an ereader and a fully fledged ebook platform (just look at B&N’s capital expenditure and increased costs and their need for cash to support their successful Nook business, hence their deal with Microsoft). Which is why reading the paragraphs below make so little sense:

Ireland’s largest book retailer, Easons, revealed plans yesterday to enter the market as well. “We are not getting into bed with Amazon, that is for certain,” a spokesman said.

“But as part of a €20m plan to modernise our entire chain, we will be providing live wi-fi in our stores from this summer and dedicated e-book areas which will permit customers to download e-books from our website. The next phase of this process is to launch our own Easons branded e-reader.”

Rival

This means that the Irish market leader will follow in the steps of the US market leader, Barnes and Noble, which has already developed its own digital reading device to rival the Amazon one.

via Hodges Figgis and Easons to sell rival e-books – Irish, Business – Independent.ie.

If B&N struggled to build a platform and needed $300 million and a Microsoft partnership, and Waterstones joined forces with Amazon, some portion of a €20 million modernisation fund simply wont be enough to do it for Easons, even given a smaller market.

Unless
That is unless the spokesperson simply meant that Easons would use a white label ebook reader with an Eason logo on the outside. That wouldn’t be the worst idea ever, but it certainly does not mean Easons will be following in B&N’s steps!

As Philip Jones, deputy editor of The Bookseller, commented on Twitter:

A nice, nice day here in Dublin,
Eoin 

The Growth Of The UK Ebook Market

Really fascinating glimpse of the development of the UK ebook business from BML/Bowker (as a teaser for their annual conference in March):

The survey also looks at how the e-book industry fares by genre. The adult fiction market saw spectacular e-book growth in 2011, up from 2.8% of purchases in the four weeks ending 26th December 2010 to 12.5% in the four weeks to 27th November 2011. But again, as e-books are being bought for lower prices, they accounted for only 7.1% of adult fiction spending in the latest period

via Bowker – British Book Buyers are Switching to “e” from Print and Spending Less.

Let’s start with the increase. From 2.8% of purchases to 12.5% of purchases that an increase of 346%.

Not bad going, especially when you consider the report doesn’t include the key Christmas period. That’s the same period by the way that saw Hachette, HarperCollins and Random House each sell over 100,000 ebooks on Christmas Day alone.

That suggests strongly that the 500% increase suggested by at least one UK publisher and referenced by The Bookseller’s Philip Jones in the excellent Futurebook email newsletter:

Were e-book sales in the UK worth £105m in 2011? That was the figure implied by Hachette UK when it stated last week that its e-book sales of £21m amounted to a 20% share of the UK e-book market. Hachette added that its own e-book sales had grown by “nearly 500%”.

We do not know if Hachette’s figure was stated at invoiced or published prices, and whether it included audio-book downloads and/or app sales, but either way it seems unlikely that Hachette’s own e-book growth will not have been reflected in the wider e-book market, meaning a second year of growth at 500%.

Jones has much much more of value in that newsletter this week so I encourage you to go read it. As Jones points out, if that £105m is correct and the market grows at a similar pace in 2012, that would bring digital sales to £500m and around 30% of the market! Pretty impressive growth.

Of course as I pointed our earlier this month, as ebook sales increase the have to overcome larger hurdles to show such large percentage gains. I’m not sure 2012 will deliver that in the UK, but it sure will be fun to find out if it can.

Eoin

Faber teams up with Touch Press for galaxy iPad guide | theBookseller.com

Not much to see here you might think on the surface. A company announcing a new product and a partnership at an industry event.

But hold on! It’s Faber (yeah, that Faber) not DK making the announcement. Who would ever have expected a solar system App from them?

What’s more, the partnership is not just another sign of just how established brands face challenges from all across the board (and Faber’s own brand is threatened too), but it shows that savvy publishers like Faber can move fairly rapidly in the digital space.

Faber is publishing an e-book app on the solar system in its first collaboration with digital publishers Touch Press.

The new venture was unveiled today at The Bookseller’s FutureBook Conference in London where Henry Volans, head of Faber Digital and Max Whitby, co-founder of Touch Press showcased their launch title, Solar System for iPad.

The interactive book, priced £7.99 and available from the App store next month, is written by New Scientist cosmology consultant Marcus Chown. He previously wrote popular science book Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You (Faber). The new book, a complete guide to our solar system, uses interactive software to include ‘multi-touch’ 3D planets and custom-made animations and videos.

via Faber teams up with Touch Press for galaxy iPad guide | theBookseller.com.

Go Read This | Publishers should be stirred, but not shaken by Bond move

Philip goes on to conclude that Publishers have much to bring to the party. he might be right, but the core power they used to have of reaching people through distribution is now gone, the balance of power has shifted and Authors or Rights Holders have a greater ability to operate without publishers:

She told me: “Penguin accepted long ago that they didn’t have the digital rights. Of course they wanted to do it, but why would we. With a brand like ours, people are looking for the books anyway, so the publicity and marketing will happen. It also gives us greater clarity of sales, which books are selling and where. We are very lucky to have such a big brand.”

Of course the deal will be interpreted as a shot across the bows of traditional publishers. And why not? Despite the energetic way that the estate has looked after the Bond brand in recent times—including the development of the Young Bond books and the new titles written by Sebastian Faulks and the Jeffery Deaver version to come—it is unlikely that the estate would have seen an opportunity to self-publish in this way until fairly recently. It has seized the opportunity at the right time, and in a way that will allow it see closely how the market develops.

via Publishers should be stirred, but not shaken by Bond move | FutureBook.