New market for writers
Amazon announced Kindle Singles—a new market for short fiction. Longer articles and short stories, written by authors with a track record, make up these titles. Prices start at just under $2.
Hot tablet sales broaden e-book market
Apple sold well over a million iPad 2 units during the launch of the new tablet both in America and internationally in March. Lines were long and some stores were out of stock in as little as 10 minutes.
A conservative estimate is over 8 million iPads sold in under six months, according to Apple. The company is pushing because a number of lower-priced competing tablet computers will hit in the next few months. Keep in mind, all these units double as color ebook readers.
Ebook sales climb fast
The major publishing houses report ebook sales were up between 150 to 400 percent over the Christmas holidays, according to Publisher’s Weekly. Despite the excitement, paper still widely out steps electronic. Reports claim 8 out of 10 books sold are paper, but some small publishers say paper outsells ebooks by 60 to 1.
Figures for the year ending January 2011, released in March by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) claim ebook sales have increased “annually and significantly” in the nine years the group has tracked the category. January 2011 was no exception, with a 116 percent increase from 32.4 million to 69.9 million.
Millionaire ebook authors
Despite the lag behind paper, Forbes reports fiction e-books, sold under $3 each, have made a handful of self-published Kindle authors millionaires.
For example, her 13 books self-published on Kindle have made twenty-six-year-old Amanda Hocking, who writes YA paranormal romance, a millionaire. Hocking just signed a $2 million deal with St Martin’s Press citing editing problems, distribution, and an opportunity to make even more as her reasons to step into traditional publishing.
Ebooks to outsell paper in two years?
At a conference on electronic storage space (GigaOm Big Data in New York City), Barnes & Noble VP of Direct Marketing Marc Parrish said two years and ebooks will outsell paper. Fortune reported Parish then later recanted, saying he didn’t mean to put a direct time-line on the shift.
In his talk, Parrish quoted Codex Forrester and Gartner Research who claim ebook reader sales will jump a 1900 percent in 2011, from 900,000 in 2010 to 18 million in 2011. Right now 30 percent of all book consumers do some combo of both ebooks and print, a figure expected to rise to 35 percent in the coming year.
Electronic formats up—and religious books, too
The AAP said anything electronic is on the rise, as downloadable audio books are also up 8.8 percent to 6.5 million from 6 million. Overall, lumping together all book sales on all platforms and in all categories, total sales are down 1.9 percent at $805.7 million this January as opposed to $821.5 million a year ago. But sales of religious books grew a respectable 5.6 percent, from $49.8 million to $52.6 million.
God bless you and the work of your hands. (Ecc. 9:10)