Thursday, May 19, 2011

Digital Books Beating Print Book Sales

The future of reading is digital. Not that printed books will vanish, just that folks may be particular about what books they want in printed form and what they want in digital. As consumers, we have become more and more enamored with digital technology and more and more comfortable reading on digital screens. And Amazon's Kindle has been one device that has thrived in this changing landscape. "Since April 1, for every 100 print books has sold, it has sold 105 Kindle books. This includes sales of hardcover and paperback books by Amazon where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher." Is this 2 month worth of data trend or aberration; the sample size may be small but that shouldn't take away from a clear movement toward digital reading.

E-book readers and tablets are still considered early adopter products. Their costs continue to drop and demand for these products continue to rise. That lends itself to further increases in digital content consumption. In addition, more and more print content companies are distributing content in digital form. "More than 175,000 books have been added to the Kindle Store in just the last 5 months." Impressive numbers and spectacular growth.

In addition to the Kindle, Barnes and Noble's Nook also seems to have strong attraction. With rumors of a new, lower priced model scheduled to be released shortly, the Nook will attract more users. It's color model has also proved a hit and even a possible iPad competitor. And other e-readers and tablets will further push the demand for digital reading - for books, newspapers, and magazines. In a world where consumers are no longer patient for the paper to be delivered or the magazine to arrive in the mail or to go to the bookstore, digital content offers faster and easier distribution, more flexibility, and hopefully, more value.