Friday, July 9, 2010

are e-books expanding the market?

Despite their shortcomings, some publishers and some retailers are reporting significant e-book sales. Are they sales that would not have been made if the books had only been in print form, thus additional to the market distribution limits of traditional print books, or are they replacing them? So far statistics are vague and unreliable as a guide. We need to have more detailed figures to know.

In the case of Amazon´s Kindle, e-books, magazines and e-newspapers are its only real use, so one would expect that buyers of Kindles are going to want to justify the expensive purchase price to themselves by buying a significant number of e-books. With Apple´s iPad, however, there are other applications, and e-books will not be the main reason for people buying them.

As we have commented before, once a paperback book has been read, that fact is obvious from the way the book now looks, with small fiction sizes at least, but with the e-reader it will look the same every time. Thus for those with limited space in their homes the e-reader has its attactions. What about when travelling though? It´s rare that the average reader will want to take more than 3-4 paperbacks with them on a 2 week vacation, but you need to take an e-reader with you and risk damage from sun and sand among other things.

It is still early days and like everyone in the industry we are watching the developments closely.