Industry pundits have long identified e-books as the grim reaper for physical trade books. Although it is predicted that sales of physical trade books will decline in years to come due to the decreasing production costs of e-reading devices and their increased adoption, this transition has been accelerated by retailers and publishers alike.
“Publishers and retailers should have taken a lesson from the movie industry, which distributes new releases to the theatres months before releasing the DVD,” says senior trade book analyst Michael Norris. “Hardcover and e-book versions are released simultaneously, forcing a price point decision on the consumer.”
New advances in e-reading technology, such as Barnes & Noble’s LendMe feature, are creating a culture of sharing that will encourage piracy.
“Another lesson can be learned from the music industry; the sharing of music cannibalized the industry, creating a scenario in which producers were making something for nothing,” adds Norris. “Unlike the music industry, there are no concerts or stage performances that will protect authors from losing sales.”
An identity crisis is also sparking a paralysis on the industry’s revenues, forcing publishers to create more content without generating additional income.
“We’re getting to the point where all books include some interactive feature; put a video here, a link there or an interactive game there,” states Norris. “We’
“2011 will be the year that the industry realizes it can evolve without morphing into something that it isn’t or abandoning things that work, have purpose and value.”
Continuous updates on e-books, and the trade publishing and retailing landscape as a whole, are available in Simba Information’
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