Thursday, July 19, 2012

Goodbye Print: E-Books Are Here to Stay

Disruption Final

From Julie Bosman … Survey Shows Growing Strength of E-Books.

Obviously, print books are not going away. They will likely become niche' or luxury products and publishers will have opportunities to add value with packaging, high-end paper, binding, print, etc. But, much like the music and movie industries were disrupted by digital content, the publishing industry is losing to e-books. Unfortunately for most traditional publishing companies, the disruption is coming from external upstarts rather than from the incumbents themselves. Had publishers had the foresight to spin out separate digital content businesses they could have been leading this shift – instead they're watching their business model crumble around them.

E-books continued their surge in popularity last year, surpassing hardcover books and paperbacks to become the dominant format for adult fiction in 2011, according to a survey of publishers released Wednesday.

For several years, consumers have been rapidly switching from print to digital for reading novels, a sign of the growing strength of the e-book for narrative, straightforward storytelling.

Over all, digital books kept up their explosive growth in 2011, the survey confirmed. Publishers’ net revenue from sales of e-books more than doubled last year, reaching $2.07 billion, up from $869 million in 2010. E-books accounted for 15.5 percent of publishers’ revenues.

But as digital revenue grew, print sales suffered, dropping to $11.1 billion in 2011 from $12.1 billion in 2010.

The annual survey, known as BookStats, includes data from nearly 2,000 publishers of all sizes. It was conducted by two trade groups, the Book Industry Study Group and the Association of American Publishers.

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