Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, spoke May 2 at the annual Romantic Times Booklovers convention in Kansas City. He presented the results of a survey that studied the e-book market and he made this prediction: “I predict that within three years, over 50% of the New York Times bestselling ebooks will be self-published ebooks. It’s possible I’m being too conservative.”
I’m a novice when it comes to ereaders. In fact, I haven’t bought mine yet. So, I’m going to defer to Meghan Somers, a volunteer at Digital Alberta. Her article, The Rise of the E-Book, in the Nov. 27, 2012, issue of the Calgary Herald, reviewed some eReader basics. Here is her article in its entirety.
“In the beginning ebooks were written and published to a select audience, and in a limited run. Then, in November 2007 Amazon.com released the Kindle and the industry changed. In early 2011 the company announced that they sold more ebooks than paper books – and that number is constantly growing. As this article from TechVibes points out, tablets and ereaders are doing to print what the iPod and iTunes did to music: changing the way people buy and consume content. The numbers certainly reflect this.
In the US 2012 so far has seen $282.3M spent on ebooks in adult literature alone. This is up from $220.4M in 2011. Children’s/young adult eBooks saw an increase of 475.1% from 2011 to 2012. In Canada, while the number of ebooks sold has not overtaken traditional book formats, ebooks account for 16.3% of all book sales – a number which surpasses the expectations of industry experts.
Reading in general seems to be on the rise as a result of ebooks and ereaders. This may have something to do with the ‘I’ve got it so I might as well use it’ mentality people develop towards their digital devices. Research says that on average people who own an ebook device read almost double the amount of books in a year than people who don’t own one. But there are other factors to consider as well. Speed of accessibility, ease of use while travelling and access to content are the top three reasons people prefer ebooks. What is even more interesting is that 88% of people who read ebooks also read printed books. The rise of ebooks has also heralded a rise in readership of books in general – half way through 2012 the total sales (ebooks and print) for books in adult literature alone is up $17.1M from the same time last year.
The rise of the ebook has also seen a rise in self-published material. Perhaps the most famous example of success in the self-published ebook industry is E.L. James’ ’50 Shades of Grey’, but she was not the first to see success in the self publishing world. Amanda Hocking is generally agreed to be the first self-published author to reach over a million dollars in sales with her ‘Trylle’ series. With series like Trylle and 50 Shades opening readers eyes to new avenues for reading content more ‘serious’ subject matter is also being broached in the self-publishing realm. Renowned journalists who spend a lot of time crafting a piece for a major news outlet are often left with a lot more research and material then what ends up on newsstands. Self-publishing allows them to take that leftover material and get it out to the public.
What we can take away from this is that the traditional book industry is not dying – it is simply evolving. People prefer to have multiple ways to consume content, a fact that seems obvious due to the rapid adoption of tablet and mobile content, but until you see the actual stats it is sometimes hard to wrap ones head around the concept.”
Meghan is a volunteer at Digital Alberta. In addition to being a digital media enthusiast she is an Account Executive at The Agency, a boutique PR firm that specializes in the technology sector.