If you’re already involved in the digital publishing bubble, you may know that Barnes & Noble have announced that they will stop producing the Nook tablet, retreating to focus on their purported strengths – good old print and ebooks.
This article, by Kristen McLean on digitalbookworld.com, makes an interesting extrapolation from this news. It suggests, using some pretty solid figures as evidence, that B&N’s decision to consolidate its e-reader market presence may be missing the point. It describes standalone e-ink readers as potentially a “transitional technology”, and offers the following stats based on a study conducted by the author into children’s ebooks:
…while in-store and traditional browser-based book purchasing remained relatively stable between January 2012 and February 2013, stand-alone e-reader book purchases fell from 6% to <1%, while in-app purchases grew from 1% to 7% in the same period.
This seems like fairly irrefutable evidence that ebook apps might be the future for digital publishing, rather than individual ebooks sold on third party platforms. I’m certainly taking note of this, given that I am in the process of helping produce a children’s ebook and will be releasing it in more than one format…
However, as with all statistics, there’s another way of looking. This article, also on digitalbookworld.com, offers the implication that ebooks are a booming global market, based upon the statistic that ebooks sold abroad by American publishers are
up 63% to $121.5 million
Ebooks now account for nearly 15% of such revenue.
As a publisher of any description, it can be difficult to reconcile so many competing messages about what the future holds and how you should be cashing in on its potential. With newcomers in the third-party ebook store field such as Tolino and Tomely, I personally don’t see ebooks dying out soon, if ever. Consumers are spending their money, in the millions, and that speaks for itself. We have yet to see an app-book, outside the kids’ market, take off in the way many ebooks have, but at the same time I wouldn’t like to bet against it.
My approach is to innovate when appropriate. App-books are an exciting prospect, but until I see a way to collect and collate them that matches up to my personal Kindle library, a better way than, say, putting all my app-books into a folder that’s called Newsstand, I can’t see them gaining too much ground on the ebook boom. Give it a year or two, however, and platforms such as Baker may have allowed the creation of enough high-quality app-books to engender a new strand to the multifarious industry we call publishing.