Monday, January 23, 2012

The bad news is....the good news is...

The number of e-readers in the hands of customers more or less doubled over Christmas.

(Because most of them were given as gifts.)

But about half the people who got Kindles haven't taken them out of the package.

I had my first urge to buy an e-book a couple of days ago. I don't have an e-reader, so it wasn't much of a temptation, but I had the fleeting inclination. It was a book mentioned in passing, that sounded really interesting but which I've already forgotten. This is always happening, of course, but I usually don't pay much attention. I find plenty of books to read.

Thing is, I know enough about the availability of books to know that I'd be unlikely to find that particular title anywhere locally, not even at Powell's. So that would seem to be the perfect book to look for online. Of course, maybe it wouldn't have been available there, either.

I'm still sticking to my assertion that people will continue to buy book books. Because people like to browse and touch and talk about books. I just don't believe it's a Zero Sum game. And there is some evidence that people who buy e-books also end up buying book books.

The independent bookstore would seem to be the place for that. (I think Barnes and Noble is doomed, however.)

You can find various surveys over on Shelf Awareness, of which I'm summarizing.

Amazingly, over half of the respondents say they won't buy an e-reader. This percentage is up over last year, which was up over the year before.

So they say.

A "killer app" could change that.

Interestingly, the percentage of people who say they want to buy their books from Indies is about 3 times the number of people who actually do buy their books from Indies. Their heart is in the right place, but when it comes right down to it, they buy from where they're at -- and they're closer to a computer and the mass market and big box stores.

This fits in with my overall impression of the comic market, the card market, and just about everything else I sell. If you ask people, they are very supportive. But the numbers don't add up.

So we just have to keep chipping away at that.


Anonymous said...

I have an e-reader! I never use it.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"And there is some evidence that people who buy e-books also end up buying book books."

Of course they do. It's not either-or. I mean, it is for individual books, but not for all books.

"I think Barnes and Noble is doomed, however."

I hope you're wrong about that, because it's nice having a large bookstore with a large selection here in Bend, and (imagine a New Jersey / Tony Soprano accent here) wit' all due respect, Dunc, your little store just can't match that.

H. Bruce Miller said...

Currently, in addition to three books on my Nook, I'm reading a hardcover book about Buddhism and a paperback edition of Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar." I bought the Buddhism book because it's beautifully bound and illustrated and "The Bell Jar" because I couldn't find an e-book version. I believe there always will be a market for traditional books that are "keepers."