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What It Has To Do With Us
This group discusses the effect digital publishing is having all all of us, including perspectives from readers, authors, BK staff members, printers, design and production professionals, distributors, retailers, and other BK stakeholders.
Created by David Marshall
Three interrelated articles in the Business Day section of the New York Times today (4-16-12) about Amazon, Apple, and e-books tell a story of an industry in turmoil.
Book Publishing's Neal Nemesis (front page) - Technology reporter David Carr identified Amazon as the real monolith of the book publishing industry, not Apple and the publishers named in the U.S. Justice Department suit. It's not new information, but what's new for me is that a respected journalist is making the same arguments as the accused publishers.
Daring to Cut Off Amazon (front page) - A small publisher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Educational Development Corporation, with $26 million in annual revenues, made news by giving Amazon the boot. The CEO Randell White sacrificed $1.5 million (6% of revenues) in Amazon revenue because he was so concerned that Amazon was "squeezing everyone out of business." When he told his distributor Baker and Taylor to stop selling to Amazon, Baker and Taylor refused, so he fired Baker and Taylor as well. Instant folk hero?
E-Book Strategy Fails for Apple, to Little Effect (Bits section) - Eddy Cue, the head of iTunes at Apple, sent an email to Steve Jobs a year before the iPad debut saying "It would be very easy for us to compete and and I think trounce Amazon by coming out with our own e-book store." This hasn't come to pass because Amazon and Kindle have continued to dominate the e-book market, but the iPad has done very well for other reasons.
Together, these three articles show an industry in disruption. People may argue whether its positive creative disruption or destructive disruption for the book publishing industry, but there's no doubt that a sea change is underway.
Created by Berrett-Koehler Staff
Pew Internet just published a free 68-page report on the e-book industry. It's worth reading. If you just want to read the highlight, see industry watcher Mike Shatzkin's Top-10 observations about the study. Thanks to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for funding this research. David Marshall, Berrett-Koehler
Report Summary (from Pew Internet website)
One-fifth of American adults (21%) report that they have read an e-book in the past year, and this number increased following a gift-giving season that saw a spike in the ownership of both tablet computers and e-book reading devices such as the original Kindles and Nooks.1 In mid-December 2011, 17% of American adults had reported they read an e-book in the previous year; by February, 2012, the share increased to 21%.
The rise of e-books in American culture is part of a larger story about a shift from printed to digital material. Using a broader definition of e-content in a survey ending in December 2011, some 43% of Americans age 16 and older say they have either read an e-book in the past year or have read other long-form content such as magazines, journals, and news articles in digital format on an e-book reader, tablet computer, regular computer, or cell phone.
Those who have taken the plunge into reading e-books stand out in almost every way from other kinds of readers. Foremost, they are relatively avid readers of books in all formats: 88% of those who read e-books in the past 12 months also read printed books.2 Compared with other book readers, they read more books. They read more frequently for a host of reasons: for pleasure, for research, for current events, and for work or school. They are also more likely than others to have bought their most recent book, rather than borrowed it, and they are more likely than others to say they prefer to purchase books in general, often starting their search online.
The growing popularity of e-books and the adoption of specialized e-book reading devices are documented in a series of new nationally representative surveys by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project that look at the public’s general reading habits, their consumption of print books, e-books and audiobooks, and their attitudes about the changing ways that books are made available to the public.
Most of the findings in this report come from a survey of 2,986 Americans ages 16 and older, conducted on November 16-December 21, 2011, that extensively focused on the new terrain of e-reading and people’s habits and preferences. Other surveys were conducted between January 5-8 and January 12-15, 2012 to see the extent to which adoption of e-book reading devices (both tablets and e-readers) might have grown during the holiday gift-giving season and those growth figures are reported here. Finally, between January 20-Febuary 19, 2012, we re-asked the questions about the incidence of book reading in the previous 12 months in order to see if there had been changes because the number of device owners had risen so sharply. All data cited in this report are from the November/December survey unless we specifically cite the subsequent surveys. This work was underwritten by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.