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My Digital Footprint

John Seely Brown

The web has just begun to have an impact on our lives. As fascinated as we are with it today, we’re still seeing it in its early forms… My belief is that not only will the web be as fundamental to society as electrification but that it will be subject to many of the same diffusion and absorption dynamics as that earlier medium.

Friday
May122017

Clouding the ebook sales story

 

 

Source:Digital Book World Report 2017

How often do we hear it said that digital publishing is just not taking off?  eBooks are dying before they've really begun and young people are adamant that they prefer the feel of a paper book in their hands in preference to digital.

Whilst some of this feedback is real experience, it's necesssary to look at the statistics from a range of sources  to realise the reports being presented on a regular basis only tell part of the whole story.  As the articles below show, ebook sales statistics are usually taken from data presented by the Big 5 Publishers.  The huge rise in digital publishing, on the other hand, is the Indie and self-published market whose figures are not included in mainstream publishers data.

  • Self-published indie authors are verifiably capturing at least 24% – 34% of all ebook sales in each of the five English-language markets; it’s not just a US-only phenomenon. When you also include the uncategorized authors, the vast majority of whom are also self-published, the true indie share in each market lies somewhere between 30% – 40%.
  • Indies are competing particularly well in the Canadian and Australian ebook markets, nearly approaching the level of dominance they currently hold in the US.
  • The Big Five, on the other hand, are letting themselves progressively get squeezed out of nearly every English-Language ebook market. They make up only 38% of Canadian ebook purchases, and that’s the country where they are holding their ground best; in the US, the Big Five now account for barely 26% of all ebook sales.  (AuthorEarnings.com)

So, rather than being an ebook vs print book debate, like television vs radio, we are finding there is a place for both formats, plus audiobooks which is another story again!  Articles that tell a different story:

From AuthorEarnings.com - February 2017 Big, Bad, Wide & International Report: covering Amazon, Apple, B&N, and Kobo ebook sales in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

From: Print vs Digital, Traditional vs Non-Traditional, Bookstore vs Online: 2016 Trade Publishing by the numbers

From TheConversation.com - Has the print book trumped digital? Beware of glib conclusions by Nick Earls

From Fortune.com - No, e-books sales are not falling, despite what publishers say by Mathew Ingram

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