Publisher Doubts eBook Growth

Publisher Michael Hyatt, CEO of Christian Publishing Company Thomas Nelson Publishers, said in a recent post that he doubts eBook growth will be as fast as some industry experts believe.

Hyatt cited a report that predicted half of books sold in the U.S. will be in eBook form by 2014, and threw some water on those expectations.

E-book sales are still relatively small. The media hype has outstripped the reality. According to a study by BISG, e-book sales for the fourth quarter of 2010 were only 7 percent of all book purchases. That’s up from 2 percent in 2009 and represents dramatic growth. But this is still a long way from “50 percent by 2014.”

Read his full post here.

I agree with all of his points and would add one more – eBook prices are too high.

While the average eBook costs less than hardcover books, which is a bargain, the electronic format is still usually more expensive than paperback books.

Why would someone buy a book online for $10 when they get the paperback copy at Target for about $7? And why are eBooks so expensive? You’d think they’d be far cheaper with the production of an actual book, right? Wired Magazine has an interesting article on why eBooks cost so much here. In summary, it’s partly due to production costs involved with the electronic copy and, as you might have guessed, an artificial inflation to keep people paying more for books on paper.

Long story short, eBooks won’t match or overtake actual books in terms of sales until such time that costs come down and you’re able to read any eBook on any device without format restrictions.

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