For you number-lovers out there, and we know you are out there, here’s something a bit more speculative but still interesting. Retailer Matt Blind has used his very own arcane logarithm to calculate approximate Ebook sales numbers by dollars for the last few years. And here’s his chart, clickee for biggee. (Methodology is in the link.)
No idea if this is on target or even what it means except that…it looks like more and more ebooks will be sold! Imagine that. Blind does caution that it does not seem as if digital books have already completely cannibalized print sales. Here are some of his process notes:
• The only data available to me are ebook sales as reported by the Association of American Publishers: so these correspond only to US ebook sales from established publishing houses and does not include self-published ebooks.
• Merely looking at a dollar sales figure (again, the only data available) glosses over the fact that ebooks are sold at lower price points: unit sales of books will be higher than the dollar figure might suggest
• My projection is not the only interpretation – but I’ve tried some other models and ebooks sure look like they’re following a fairly common sigmoid growth curve
• …however, if ebooks do not merely cannibalize sales of other formats but instead push books into new genres, new business models, new retail channels, and effectively blow up books as we know them: why sure, I guess there’s no upper limit & my projection is wrong. You can make any assumptions you like along those lines. My graph represents a fairly short future time frame (3-5 years out) and a relatively stable publishing industry. (Well, stable other than the disruption currently happening due to ebooks.)
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.