The sale of ebooks continues to grow. Publishers report that ebook sales rose another 252 percent in the first quarter of 2010.
Steve Haber, the head of Sony’s e-reader division has stated that he believes that within five years there will be more digital content sold than physical content.
With this type of exponential ebook growth, where are the Christian ebook stores? I did not know of any, so I decided to investigate.
Since there are a large number of online bookstores dedicated to selling just Christian print books, I thought I should first check to see how many of these stores carried ebooks. I was hard pressed to find any.
All the major online bookstores such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders sell ebooks alongside their print books. Yet, the largest online retailer of Christian books, Christian Book Distributors, does not yet offer ebooks.
Next, I thought I should check the websites for the largest Christian chain retailers (since they also host book sales on their websites) to see how many were selling ebooks. They all sold audio books. But, only two out of the top six Christian chain stores are currently selling ebooks: Family Christian and Cokesbury. Both these stores have a very limited selection.
Lastly, I checked to see if there were any online stores dedicated to selling just ebooks. There are many online ebook stores for the general market (most of which also carry Christian titles) such as FictionWise, eReader.com, ebooks.com, and CyberRead. Yet, I could not find one on-line bookstore dedicated to just Christian ebooks.
So I ask, how come the Christian market has not embraced the sale of ebooks the way the secular market has?
Traditionally, the Christian marketplace has lagged behind the secular marketplace. There has been a gap of three to five years between the trends in the secular market and the Christian market.
It appears the same trend is being played out with the creation, distribution, and sales of Christian ebooks.
Which leads me to think about a Christian ebook distributor? Thus far, other than Ingram (which is a secular distributor with a Christian division), neither of the largest Christian book distributors, STL nor Anchor, have begun to distribute ebooks.
Hopefully, they will soon. But do they first need stores to sell the ebooks to? This brings up the question of what comes first: the chicken or the e-egg?