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Ebook Sales and Summer BBQ’s

OK, this has been an interesting two weeks on the e-book front.

If your life is like mine, everyone is asking you, the librarian, for your personal and professional opinion on e-books and e-readers.

So, to prepare you for the family, neighbourhood and friends’ BBQ’s this weekend, here’s some interesting tidbits to throw about in conversation:

First read the full post for this one:

Top 10 Myths about our e-Book Future

Here’s the highlight list:
1. Due to an avalanche of self-published and poorly edited e-books, readers will be submerged in a big pile of suck.
2. Publishers are going to disappear.
3. Paper books will disappear.
4. E-books are going to destroy libraries.
5. All authors will have an equal shot.
6. The book world will be divided into a few megabestsellers and everyone else selling only two copies. It will be impossible for authors without platforms to get anyone to pay attention to them.
7. We’re all going to drop our e-readers into our bathtubs amid a massive, world-wide power outage and multi-government e-book deletion conspiracy that causes us to permanently lose every book the world has ever published.
8. The reading world will be divided between those who can afford an e-reader and those who can’t.
9. Bookstores will disappear.
10. E-books will evolve into all-knowing robots that will implant carnivorous baby e-books inside our brains and devour our heads from within.

Of course the big news was Amazon’s announcement:

Amazon: Paper Books Are Dead, Or Something

“Over the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books has sold, it has sold 143 Kindle books. Over the past month, for every 100 hardcover books has sold, it has sold 180 Kindle books.” Peace. Out. Trees.

NEW $189 PRICE RESULTS IN TIPPING POINT FOR GROWTH now selling more Kindle books than hardcover books

“SEATTLE-July 19, 2010-(NASDAQ: AMZN)-Millions of people are already reading on Kindles and Kindle is the #1 bestselling item on for two years running. It’s also the most-wished-for, most-gifted, and has the most 5-star reviews of any product on Today, announced that Kindle device unit sales accelerated each month in the second quarter-both on a sequential month-over-month basis and on a year-over-year basis.

“We’ve reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle-the growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of “In addition, even while our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format. customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books-astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months.”

Kindle offers the largest selection of the most popular books people want to read. The U.S. Kindle Store now has more than 630,000 books, including New Releases and 106 of 110 New York Times Best Sellers. Over 510,000 of these books are $9.99 or less, including 75 New York Times Best Sellers. Over 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available to read on Kindle.

Recent milestones for Kindle books include:

Over the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books has sold, it has sold 143 Kindle books. Over the past month, for every 100 hardcover books has sold, it has sold 180 Kindle books. This is across’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of hardcover books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.

Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books in the first half of 2010 as in the first half of 2009.
The Association of American Publishers’ latest data reports that e-book sales grew 163 percent in the month of May and 207 percent year-to-date through May. Kindle book sales in May and year-to-date through May exceeded those growth rates.

On July 6, Hachette announced that James Patterson had sold 1.14 million e-books to date. Of those, 867,881 were Kindle books.

Five authors-Charlaine Harris, Stieg Larsson, Stephenie Meyer, James Patterson, and Nora Roberts-have each sold more than 500,000 Kindle books.

Readers are responding to Kindle’s uncompromising approach to the reading experience. Weighing 10.2 ounces, Kindle can be held comfortably in one hand for hours, has an e-ink display that is easy on the eyes even in bright daylight, has two weeks of battery life, lets you buy your books once and read them everywhere-on your Kindle, Kindle DX, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry, and Android-based devices-and has free 3G wireless with no monthly fees or annual contracts-all at a $189 price.

To reiterate, those stats don’t include free Kindle books. A tipping point indeed. ”

Of core,you’ll want to remmeber that: Amazon isn’t only place peole buy books and e-books, the Kindle isn’t the only reader, some people borrow books (grin), paperback books are by far the biggest part of the market and Internet buyers and brodband users represent a different demographic than the average or general population at this time.

See this post:

How Many Kindle Books Has Amazon Sold? About 22 Million This Year By Jay Yarow (Silicon Valley Insider)

“Yesterday Amazon announced a big milestone: In the last month, Amazon’s e-book sales outpaced its hardcover sales on nearly two to one.

It’s a nice stat, but what does it actually mean? How big are hardcover sales, anyway?
According to Nielsen Bookscan, only 23% of total dead-tree book sales this year come from hardcover books.
The rest are from paperback books. In other words, assuming Amazon’s book business reflects the overall industry, Amazon is still probably selling twice as many paperback books as Kindle books.

Amazon is estimated to have 19% of the book market, which implies the company sold 15.6 million hardcover books so far this year.

In its announcement yesterday, Amazon said it sold 143 Kindle books for each 100 hardcover books last quarter. (Last month alone, it sold 180 e-books sold for every 100 hardcover books sold.)

If we use the ratio from the last quarter, it implies Amazon has sold around 22 million Kindle books so far this year. That’s just the equivalent of 6% of the total print book market, which remains tiny.

Another factor that Amazon doesn’t mention is that it makes less money per e-book than it does on print books, and in some cases is losing money on e-books. It’s good for Amazon to attack the e-book market and try to own it, even if costs a little early on, but let’s not forget that e-books don’t generate the same income or sales.”

Five Reasons Amazon E-Books are Outselling HardcoversBy Steven

PC Worlds – “Are you still holding out to see what happens with this whole ebooks “fad” before deciding whether to embrace it for your business? Well, the times they are a changin’ and there are a variety of reasons that ebooks are outpacing printed books. Amazon reports that ebook sales are three times higher than last year, and that Kindle versions of books have outsold their hardcover equivalents by 43 percent over the last quarter. The traditional written word printed on paper will not be fading to oblivion any time soon, but here are five factors contributing to the success of the ebook”

1. Cost.
2. Portability.
3. Accessibility.
4. Cross-Platform. (A device like the iPad provides access to various e-reader platforms.)
5. Conservation.

Read more:

eBooks outselling hard coversBy Michael on ebooks

“Ok, so has announced that for every 100 hard covers they’re selling 143 eBooks. Bully for them. Here’s my thoughts and questions:
1. will still not release any actual numbers regarding books sold (of any type) or Kindles sold.
2. Paperbacks still outsell hard covers and eBooks.
3. So it sounds like people will buy whatever’s cheapest. When eBooks cost the same as a paperback and then outsell the paperback let’s talk.
4. Ignoring the price issue, I there’s a convenience to instantly purchasing and then having (though not owning) the content of the book. A couple of clicks and you’ve got the book. No waiting for something to be shipped. But, when it’s that easy, what’s the level of impulse purchasing of eBooks that then actually read?
5. Lastly, does the number of eBooks “sold” include the ones that are downloaded for free? I’ve got a few dozen Kindle books but I didn’t pay for a single one of them. I’ve just been downloading many of the free books they’ve offered. (Now ask me how many of them I’ve read.)
6. Oh, and one more thought: They’re not “selling” any of those eBooks. They’re licensing them to you! Wouldn’t it be more honest if the press release read “Over the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books has sold, it has sold 143 Kindle book licenses.”?”

Lastly, we have your first million seller (downloads) this month with Steig Larson.
It’s a shame he didn’t live this milestone.

Stieg Larsson is the first author to reach one million books sold on Amazon …

So there’s some interesting soundbites to throw about over hot dogs. Hey, you’re the book professional so you’re in the know!


Posted on: July 29, 2010, 4:45 pm Category: Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Rybrarian said

    First of all, my friends and I are too busy talking about sports and craft beer for this topic to even come up in the first place. Secondly, if someone did ask me this question, I would tell them that e-books and e-readers rock! If I want to read a book, boom, I can get it instantaneously on my Kindle. Sure, I could try to get a book from my library via Overdrive, but that process is way too tedious and the selection sucks anyway, so why bother? I am going on vacation to Hawaii for two weeks and don’t want to haul around 10 books with me, no worries, I can just put them on my Kindle. We live in an instant gratification society, a society where we want it now, and, maybe more importantly, we want it easy. Are we librarians screwed? Well, maybe. We are if we don’t enhance the user experience in our libraries. We are if we don’t give the people want they want and give it to them in a fast and friendly manner. Does the awesomeness of the Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Droid, and other personal technology devices that give users a lot of the things that librarians give users scare the heck out of me and keep me awake a night…you bet your obsolete Dewey Decimal System it does! But we have a chance if we are able to shake things up a little bit….what do you guys think?