Prediction for eBooks

The other day I was talking with a gentleman who told me that after he got a tablet, he quit reading print books altogether. He asked me if I read digital books. I told him that I still had a strong preference for print books and that is mostly what I read. He then told me that his wife reads about half print and half digital.

This gentleman shared that one of the things he liked the most about digital reading was the ease of purchase. If someone told him about a book, he could pull out his tablet and immediately buy the book.

Interestingly, the three of us (this gentleman, his wife, and myself) made up the profile of book readers. Print is still by and large the most popular way people read. However, the number of hybrid readers (those reading both print and digital) and digital-only readers is growing.

The big question that keeps being asked is: “When will ebooks surpass print books?”

Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) recently published its annual “Entertainment & Media Outlook.” In this report, PwC predicted that the U.S. ebook market will surpass the printed book market in 2017.

ebook prediction

PwC also predicts that overall revenue from book sales will stay below the 2008 sales level. This stagnation of revenue is not because people are reading less, but mostly because the average selling price for ebooks is lower than for printed books.

What do you think? Do you agree with this prediction?

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12 thoughts on “Prediction for eBooks

  1. Pingback: News You Can Use – July 16, 2013 | The Steve Laube Agency

  2. I agree with the ease of purchase, but I still prefer to hold a print book in my hand. Unless the latest version of e-readers is better than mine, I can’t see where I am in the book easily, there’s no back cover copy to remind me what this book is about. I have many unread books on my e-reader, but I’ve forgotten what half of them are about. Maybe it’s time I upgrade my iPad. I’m still on generation 1. 🙂

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  3. I disagree. Until ebooks allow u to write n margins and simulate a real book. Real books real still rule. I simply can’t retain and remember by just reading, I must have pen in hand and actively circle, underline and make notes.

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  4. I much prefer eBooks. I can read in the dark, adjust the font size, look up words I’m not familiar with, easily take lots of books with me when I travel, and I don’t have to dust the books on my Kindle.

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  5. Interesting thought about not having the back cover readily available on an ebook to remind you what the book is about. I hadn’t thought of that one!

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  6. I think that as the technology develops, and as this generation grows up on ebooks, the tangible benefits of print books (the scent, feel, experience) will become a thing of the past, similar to newspapers. It being a growing market, someone will eventually come along to really compete with Amazon, opening a flood gate of competition. I think that will be the point when the balance tips.

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  7. Will it be this generation? As of yet, the majority of elementary and secondary schools are still using books? Maybe the upcoming generation?

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  8. I couldn’t figure that. I read nothing but digital books (except for one series which i own all physical copies of) but my wife is almost all print. My mom is about half and my mother in law wouldn’t know what to do with an ebook.

    This generation has grown up using computers and experiencing digital content. Their context, their experience, is evolving. I would say it would be within this generation but with the tipping point being because of the next generation as they become more more profitable and drive the industry.

    Then you get into variables like the bookstores and publishers, their business practices will skew that, though i don’t see them driving print very well under their current partnerships.

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  9. Amazon sales for ebooks (Kindle) started exceeding print book sales back in 2011. Since they are the biggest bookseller in the country (aren’t they?), it seems clear where the trend is heading. If print books go out of style, however, it seems like it’ll be at least 10 or 20 years in the future. We just love the feel of a good book in our hands. I have my book available on Kindle and in print.

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  10. True, Amazon began selling more ebooks than paper and hardback books back in 2011 – for every 100 print books, it sold around 105 ebooks. However, I recently read a statistic that said Amazon sells 1 out of every 4 books sold in the US. That would mean for books, they hold 25% of the market. Only last month, June 2013, did ebooks outsell hardcover books (overall) for the first time. So, yes, the trend is toward ebooks. The question is: Just when will ebooks begin to outsell print?

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  11. That’s a great question. It seems that since 20-30% of Americans don’t access the internet (from what I’ve read), and that most of them tend to be in the more mature generation, until we “more mature” folks die off (for many of us, it will be while sitting in a comfortable chair, reading a good book) the trend toward ebooks probably won’t make any sudden advances. Brick and mortar stores are continuing to decline in number, and internet book (and ebook) sales continue to increase so it seems that authors/publishers that want to sell books need to be willing to embrace the digital, especially since it’s so easy (relatively) to get a print book into ebook format. Don’t you think?

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