State of e-books

Amazon sent out a press release about a week ago talking about how well e-books are doing. In some cases, e-books are outselling their print counterparts two to one. A robust e-book market is what Amazon is hoping for, since right now they are the e-book king. More e-books being sold means more Kindles being sold. Amazon wins both ways.

Amazon benefits from the appearance of a robust market because some people may want to see if e-books really catch on. Early adopters always jump at the latest and greatest, but the majority of people don’t want to be stuck with the proverbial betamax player. They hold onto their money until they can see something is worth buying. The whole ’50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong’ kind of thing.

So while Amazon’s press release is upbeat, Publishers Weekly quickly released their own press release that paints a different picture. They said that most publishers across the board report that e-books sales are still only 10% to 15% of total revenue.

I’m still not sure why publishers seem almost gleeful to point out that e-books aren’t selling as well as Amazon is hinting. That is like the record industry dissing the CD. It’s a new medium, and one that appears to be getting more people to read. Embrace it.

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