Larry Bonura's Blog

Random thoughts filling my brain

Here & there: Bits of information

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Moe Girkins, president & CEO of Zondervan, is quoted in the May/June 2010 Book Business: “We expect e-book revenue to exceed 12% next year, and 15% to 20% the following.”

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According to a Simba Information’s report, “Trade E-Book Publishing 2010,” that draws data from a nationally representative survey, an estimated 9% of the U.S. adult population bought at least one e-book in 2009, compared to an estimated 8% in 2008.

“You can read this two ways,” says Michael Norris, senior analyst with Simba. “On one hand, about 91% of the U.S. adult population shrugged off e-books in 2009, but on the other hand, about 6,000 new people per day entered the e-book market in 2009.”

There is a big however, he notes:  “I haven’t seen a comparable loss of consumers on the print side, which has also seen a big rise in consumers between 2008 and 2009. So I think any generic narrative that says ‘a shift away from print and toward digital’ may be premature. They both are growing, and both can grow as long as the quality of the content remains high.”

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According to statistics on the most recent e-book sales, released from the Association of American Publishers, which collects statistics in conjunction with the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), trade e-book sales were $28.9 million for the month of February 2010, a 339.3% increase over February 2009 ($6.6 million). Year-to-date sales are up 292.2%.

The IDPF noted in the announcement about the new sales figures, “[A] new [sales-revenue] barrier has been breached. The first two months (January and February) of Q1 2010 already total $60.8 million vs. Q4 2009, which was previously [the] highest quarter at $55.9 million.”

The statistics represent U.S. sales of books delivered electronically over the Internet or to handheld reading devices via wholesale channels by 12 to 15 trade publishers, but does not include library, educational, or professional electronic sales.

To put this in perspective, in 2009, according to AAP, U.S. publishers saw $23.9 billion in net sales, down 1.8% from $24.3 billion in 2008.

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According to Bowker, a provider of bibliographic information management solutions, there was a 181% increase from 2008 to 2009 in the number of titles produced by self-publishers and “micro-niche” publishers. These types of publishers produced 764,448 titles last year.

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In the May/June 2010 Book Business “Guest Column”, author Rudy Shur, founder and publisher of Long Island, N.Y.-based Square One Publishers, writes: “Recent figures suggest that approximately 3% ($200 million) of total book-market revenue ($80 billion) comes from e-book sales. Experts estimate that this number could double over the next two years to 6%. Let’s say that in five years, that 6% figure then triples. This would mean that 18% ($1.2 billion) of market revenue would come from e-book sales, and 82% ($78.8 billion) still would come from books on paper. That certainly would impact our sales, but it would hardly spell the end of the book world as we know it.”

He concludes: “So, is there an e-gorilla in the room? Sure, there is. But it’s a lot smaller than you might think.”

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According to the Quarterly Disaster Resource Guide, a recent study predicts that data traffic on cellular networks in the U.S. alone will go from 8 petabytes/month this year to 327 petabytes/month in 2015. The study says that we will be receiving nearly all that data on smartphones: Traffic will increase on smartphones from its current 79% of data traffic to 98% of that traffic in 2015.

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Also from the May/June 2010 Book Business: Ron Mobed, president, Academic & Professional Group, Cengage Learning: “[Print] may not be as large as it’s been. …It doesn’t really matter to us. We’re perfectly capable of delivering millions of print books … [or] servicing millions of online users. And we’ll make that adjustment depending on how quickly things change in the marketplace.”

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