Re: eText Reader Economics
- From: Sean McGowan <sean@[redacted]>
- Subject: Re: eText Reader Economics
- Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2007 10:04:51 -0600
I think there's some good stuff here. I wonder if anyone has even a
few pieces of this general vacuum in the market that you describe.
Specifically (and, yes, I'm only referring to FREE free ebooks) I
believe the actionable information is the:
> market capitalization (size of the industry)
> number of people buying these books
> demographics of the primary consumer
> volume of books (what are the primary selling titles)
> primary publishing houses printing these books (competitive
Again, this is about the market size of PRINTED books bought by people
who could POTENTIALLY be buying ebooks, but instead choose the printed
I have a hunch that the mainstreaming of ebooks is very close, and
that catering more to this particular market is all it may take to
make the plunge; adding magnitudes of people to both the demand of
ebooks and the creation of ebooks (more translators, political
Anyone have a good approach to estimating some of these?
On Oct 31, 2007, at 10:32 PM, Kent S. Larsen II wrote:
I don't think anyone has yet done such an analysis, at least not one
is available for free (there may be something you can purchase for $$$
a consulting firm or someone).
I too would like to see such a study. Part of the problem is that
list of such books is difficult, and a lot rides on how recent the
Older titles should probably be viewed separately in such a study from
recent titles. (I'm not sure what you mean when you say "freely
While recent titles are generally not available for free, they are often
easy to find -- which is sometimes also termed "freely available".)
My sense is that for older titles, ebook sales haven't significantly
affected printed book sales. I think this is true for a couple of
1. At the moment, the markets for ebooks and printed books are fairly
distinct. Generally, IMO, the customer who buys an ebook, isn't likely
even look for a printed version of that book, unless he can't find the
ebook. Or, in other words, that customer isn't comparing the ebook
and the printed version when he goes to make a purchase. He decides the
format first, and then looks for the book. [I admit that this could be
somewhat wrong -- but since few retailers are putting ebooks alongside
printed books on their websites, allowing customers to make the
think I'm probably right. Even Amazon now seems to be selling ebooks
separately from a printed version.]
This is certainly true for the reverse. Consumers of printed books don't
often look for ebook versions (and ebooks usually aren't presented to
as an alternative).
2. As much as we would like, consumers don't have perfect information.
Consumers of one format often simply can't find out that the work
the other format. This is especially true of ebooks. I think a large
portion of consumers either don't know anything about ebooks, or if they
have heard of them, don't know the first thing about how to get and read
them, even as simple as this usually is.
In fact, it is also true that the availability of ebooks has probably
actually made many books available in print again, as publishers have
able to easily find the text and put it back into print. I know of a few
companies that are built on sales of older books previously available
BUT, eventually ebook sales will mean fewer sales of the same title in
print. When that will happen at a significant level is anyone's guess.
I don't think its happening for older titles much at all.