Monday, December 24, 2012

Are e-readers out of fashion?

The New York Times in two recent articles dated Dec. 20 and 24, delivers very worrying figures for e-reading observers.

Two years ago, it was common knowledge that e-books were going to bury by 2016 print books thanks to the immense success of cheap convenient e-readers.

2012 figures show that the success of e-books is not as obvious as it should be. Amazon, the leader in the field has delayed an expected move on  book prices that remain, in the US, stubbornly above 10 dollars. Moreover the sales are still growing, by 35% this year, a significant figure but much less that during the previous years. It seems that there is a saturation of the public which is probably also disturbed by the disparition of physical book shops, an ideal place to discover what is on in the publishing world.

Also, the sales of e-readers, including Amazon Kindle are going down: 14 millions worldwide as compared to 17 millions in 2011. This year, the sales of connected machines including tablets were 303 millions.

It appears that most customers prefer to buy a tablet which is more expensive but more useful than a only reading Kindle. Amazon has  assessed the danger and is promoting its touch Kindle fire. Other minor e-readers producers will probably be forced out of the market.

A big question remains unanswered: how is the publishing industry to survive if prices go down and bookshops vanish? It is obvious that e-books are not the solution.