A trio of stories on digital from Publishers Weekly that illuminate book demographics and strategies:

§ Jim Milliot surveys a recent report from Bowker and notes that digital book prices are falling, but Gen Y has overtaken the Boomers as the biggest book consumers:

While the report, the “2012 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics & Buying Behaviors Annual Review,” documents the changes in such high-profile industry areas as format and channel, a significant shift that has been a bit under the radar unearthed by the study is the change in who buys books. With Baby Boomers accounting for the highest percentage of the general population, that age group has historically spent the most on books. In 2011, however, that changed, when Generation Y, those born between 1979 and 1989, took over the book-buying leadership from Baby Boomers, accounting for 30% of book expenditures in the year, up from 24% in 2010, while Baby Boomers’ share of spending fell from 30% to 25%.

While this is really just a matter of time and aging, it is a reminder that the audience for books was raised on Bruce Timm, The X-Men, and Buffy.

§ Andrew Albanese looks at the uneasy relations between libraries and publishers where lending ebooks is concerned:

On the publisher side, two of the “Big Six” publishers, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, do not allow libraries to lend their e-books at all;  HarperCollins capped lends at 26 in 2011, and Hachette removed its frontlist titles from library catalogs. Random House, which does make its entire catalog available for e-book lending, recently tripled e-book prices. And Penguin suspended its library e-book lending late last year, although at this year’s ALA is announced it is now participating in a limited “e-book pilot” with the New York Public Library to determine whether and how it might resume offering e-books.

Indeed, libraries face a confusing array of constraints from different publishers on how e-books can be used, the report notes, with many e-book lending policies based on “perpetuating the print model.”

§ Finally, Nook prices just dropped, part of a general trend to make tablets more affordable, so it seems like publishers better figure out the previous item fast.

Photo via BigStock.



    I’m not privy to any information, but didn’t they lower prices before they introduced the current models?

    Could this be a way to clear out inventory before the new devices arrive? Before they have to slash prices even further to get rid of stock when everyone wants the latest thing?

    Hmm… electronic devices are following the car model… new models ship in the Fall, and everyone tries to clear out the previous model year.

    Regarding the library e-book conundrum, perhaps the book publishers should follow the Performing Rights model that music publishers use.

    Libraries could purchase a blanket license and report general circulation figures. The rights organization would then distribute the royalties to the copyright holders.