E-books vs Hard Copies

by HSG on Aug 10, 2012 in Articles from Software Fans

There has been and continues to be a plethora of observational studies by different researchers in the publishing industry focused on how e-books have affected hard-copy book sales. Evidence from these studies has indicated that there is a significant and monumental shift away from hard-copy books to e-books.[1]These findings precipitate fears that hard-copy books might become more expensive in the near future as they begin to be less available.  This scenario could escalate to the point where only collectors of hard-copy books are willing to pay the high price for ownership.

The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, made a statement in July 2010 that sales of digital books had significantly outstripped U.S. sales of hard-copy. He claimed that Amazon had sold 143 digital books for its e-reader, the Kindle, for every 100 hard-back books over the past three months. The pace of this change was unprecedented;  Amazon said that in the four weeks of June 2010, the rate of sales had reached 180 e-books for every 100 hard-backs sold. Bezos said sales of the Kindle and e-books had reached a "tipping point", with five authors including Steig Larsson, the writer of Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, and Stephenie Meyer, who penned the Twilight series, each selling more than 500,000 digital books.[2] Earlier in July 2010, Hachette said that James Patterson had sold 1.1m e-books to date.

According to a report made by Publishers Weekly, for the first quarter of 2011, e-book sales were up 159.8%; netting sales of $233.1 million. Although adult hard-cover and mass market paperback hard-copies had continued to sell, posting gains in March, all the print segments had declined for the first quarter with the nine mass market houses that report sales. Their findings revealed a 23.4% sales decline, and that children’s paper-back publishers had also declined by 24.1%.[3] E-book sales easily out-distanced mass market paperback sales in the first quarter of 2011 with mass market sales of hard-copy books falling to $123.3 million compared to e-books’ $233.1 million in sales.

According to .net sales report by the March Association of American Publishers (AAP) which collected data and statistics from 1,189 publishers, the adult e-Book sales were $282.3 million in comparison to adult hard-cover book sales which counted $229.6 million during the first quarter of 2012. During the same period in 2011, eBooks revenues were $220.4 million.[4] These reports indicate a disconcerting diminishing demand for hard-copy books.

 

 

Demographics of e-book readers.

In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center which was completed in February 2012, researchers endeavored to find out the demographics of individuals who read e-books.[5] The results demonstrated that 29% of adult book readers had read an e-book in the previous 12 months. Overall, that amounted to 21% of all adults. Those who read e-books were more likely to be under age 50, had some college education, and lived in households earning more than $50,000 per annum. Below is a table depicting demographic information of e-book readers:

Portrait of e-book readers

Table courtesy of Pew Research Centerl (2012). The rise of e-reading

http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2012/04/04/the-rise-of-e-reading/

 

 

 

 

References



[1]Popcorn Reads (n.d). The Future of Books, Book Stores and Publishers: E.books vs. Hard-Copy

Books. Accessed on July 10, 2012 from http://popcornreads.com/ereaders/the-future-of-books-bookstores-publishers-e-books-vs-hard-copy-books/

[2]Teather, D. (2010).Amazon's ebook milestone: digital sales outstrip hardbacks for first time in

US. Accessed July 10, 2012 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jul/20/amazon-ebook-digital-sales-hardbacks-us

 

[3] Publishers Weekly (2011). E-Book Sales Up 159% in Quarter, Print Falls . Accessed July 10,

2012 from http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/financial-reporting/article/47343-e-book-sales-up-159-in-quarter-print-falls.html

[4]Houle, D. (2012).  E-books vs. paper books. Accessed July 10, 2012 from

http://www.ecolibris.net/ebooks.asp

[5] The Pew Research Center (2012). The rise of e-reading. Retrieved July from

http://libraries.pewinternet.org/files/legacy-pdf/The%20rise%20of%20e-reading%204.5.12.pdf

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