Ebook sales increased by 45 percent in 2012 to make up 20 percent of the trade book market, according to a report released today by Bookstats, a co-production of the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group.
Not surprisingly in the era of erotic mega-series like Fifty Shades and Crossfire, adult fiction, particularly romance novels, showed the strongest growth in ebook sales.
This sounds like great news for digital publishing, but the reality may be even better. Despite the impressive increase reported by Bookstats, the figures almost certainly underestimate true ebook market growth as titles self-published or released by micropublishers are not included.
The New York Times today also looked at the state of more traditional formats.
Sales of hardcover and trade paperback books were relatively flat: hardcovers accounted for just over $5 billion in 2012, up from $4.9 billion in 2011. Mass-market paperbacks, the smaller format of paperback popular in airports and grocery stores, also decreased in sales.
Ahead of the June 3 trial start date of its price-fixing lawsuit, the Department of Justice is portraying Apple as the “ringmaster” that drew publishers into a scheme to sell digital books on the agency model.
In a memorandum filed in court yesterday, the DOJ ascribes tactics to Apple that ranged from enticing to coercive as it persuaded publishers that it offered their best chance to “challenge the $9.99 price point” set by Amazon.
Five major publishers named as defendants when the lawsuit was filed last year have since settled. According to yesterday’s filing, when the publishers “voiced fears that signing an Apple Agency Agreement would subject them to harsh market conditions unless the other Publisher Defendants signed too, Apple assured the publishers that they would be acting in concert to move the industry.”
Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr, speaking to The New York Times, disputed the government’s claims.
“We helped transform the e-book market with the introduction of the iBookstore in 2010, bringing consumers an expanded selection of e-books and delivering innovative new features,” Mr. Neumayr said.
Microsoft to Buy Nook? Insider Monkey’s “Highly Placed Source” Challenges TechCrunch’s “Internal Documents”
Barnes & Noble’s digital future seems cloudier than ever as a new story is contradicting reports that Microsoft wants to buy Nook Media.
For those keeping score, it’s TechCrunch citing “internal documents” that Microsoft is offering $1 billion for the division versus Insider Monkey claiming a “highly placed source inside Microsoft” says it has no plans to acquire Nook Media.
Which source to believe? Beats us, but maybe a little information about the sources will help.
Reports that Microsoft is offering Barnes & Noble $1 billion for its Nook ebook business raises questions about the fate of the only remaining national chain bookseller and about the future of digital book selling.
Since TechCrunch broke the story last week, citing leaked internal documents, pundits have widely speculated that Microsoft is interested in acquiring Nook content, but will kill the device business.
Here’s a clip from last week’s phone-in seminar with Anita Fore, Authors Guild Director of Legal Services, on the basics of understanding and negotiating contracts with both traditional book publishers and stand-alone ebook/POD publishers. The clip (about 15 minutes) focuses on traditional book contracts:
Members are welcome to contact us for a link to the full-length audio of the 60-minute seminar and a handout that accompanies Anita’s talk. (Not a member? Join up! You must be a published author to join, but many self-published authors now qualify for membership.)
The Guild is hosting additional phone-in seminars for members this week and next:
Magazine Contract Issues (Wednesday, April 24th)
Anita Fore will discuss several clauses freelancers should be aware of when negotiating magazine agreements. Sign up here.
Authors’ Statutory Right to Terminate Publishing Contracts After 35 Years (Wednesday, May 1st)
Paul Aiken, Authors Guild Executive Director, will explain the rules governing publishing contract terminations under Section 203 of the Copyright Act. Sign up here.