Worldwide ebook sales are drastically climbing and the big five publishing companies are now seeing 22% of their revenue stem from digital sales.
And the "big five" are probably the hardest part of the market to change, because they have so much to lose in their print sales, so this is a very significant number. I think by now one would have to be a fool to consider ebook market "niche".
It will be interesting to see if there now will be a flattening-off of this market shift. If the number of people who will stick with paper come hell or high water is a huge group, or if in five years ebooks will be over 70% of the market, and in ten, 90%.
I think this will depend on 1: How many are *too* uncomfortable with technology, no matter how simple. 2: How usability improves. 3: Whether prices continue to fall. 4: Whether there will be any big programs like ereaders given away with subscriptions on a big scale. 5: How fast more publishers will shift to digital-only publishing.
And this will probably depend even more on the magazine market than the book market. Many more people read magazines than read books. And magazine publishers have been in deep doo-doo for years and it's not getting better. So if you can no longer get your favorite magazines on paper, but it's bundled with a tablet for a reasonable price, that will shift a lot, very fast.
I actually wonder if a big magazine market won't be perhaps the main thing calling for a bigger tablet. The 10-inch size is really too small for a proper magazine page. Here's hoping. (I'm sure it's just a question of when they'll be able to make it cheap enough and light enough.)
|Photo by Toronto Star|