MEANWHILE, over at Amazon, some notable statistics emerged from this week’s Digital Book World conference. Perhaps most strikingly, Amazon says that Kindle book sales now outpace paperbacks:
In reporting its latest earnings, Amazon said that it was selling more Kindle books than paperback books, though the score is still close. Since January 1, for every 100 paperback books Amazon sold, 115 Kindle books were sold. To top it off, the company says that since the beginning of the year it’s sold three times as many Kindle books as hardcover books. Amazon noted that this data was from “across Amazon.com’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of books where there is no Kindle edition.” It added that free Kindle books were excluded from the tally.
ULP. The author of this news story has a realistic outlook on how this will affect places like…Borders, say.
What’s this mean? Well, it’s not good news for brick-and-mortar bookstores. At the recently held Digital Book World conference, James McQuivey of Forrester Research presented some research findings before a CEO panel on Tuesday. He included the estimate that consumers spent about $1 billion on e-books in 2010 and that sales should reach at least $1.3 billion in 2011. McQuivey said that the consensus among those surveyed was that e-books would constitute half of all trade book units by 2014, and 53 percent said they expected print sales to decrease this year.
At least one guy, Mike Shatzkin, a conference organizer and head of the Idea Logical Company, said that within 10 to 12 years brick-and-mortar bookstores would “more or less disappear.” However, some believe that the “downsizing” of brick-and-mortar superstores might actually bode well for independent bookstores, which in some ways are better equipped to tackle what may indeed become more of a niche business in the years to come.
Curiously, with digital sales lagging far behind print sales, the comics industry is yet again an outlier.