The Bookseller really should know better! In an online article today, it published an utterly meaningless statistic – not backed up by any figures that I could find – that Random House UK was ‘seeing a true tipping point in our digital publishing with an 800% year-on-year increase in e-book sales.’ 800% of what exactly?
This is simply poor journalism as it does not give the reader any comparisons or data to make their own judgement as to whether this is a tipping point or not. I suspect that it probably isn’t (yet) and that it’s more likely a way of keeping the Random House brand in the public eye at a time when Hachette UK are divulging their actual eBook data!
A poor show – I am surprised at The Bookseller for using a ‘Letter to staff’ in a banner headline and expecting readers to take their report seriously. At the very least, why not wait until the actual RH figures are fully available and we can judge for ourselves.
On a more substantive note, I see that Luke Johnson – the former Borders UK financier – writing this month in Management Today, had the following to say about publishers and eBooks;
‘The future for some players may be much darker. Already, almost a fifth of revenues of certain major trade fiction publishers are generated by eBooks. I fear that soon parts of the industry may face a terrible reckoning – squeezed by piracy, deflation, Apple and Amazon: I desperately hope they manage it better than the recorded music business did. I was always told that there were three ways to achieve immortality: have children, plant trees and write books. I’ve done all three, but I worry intensely that today’s books may not endure, as previous titles have for the past few hundred years.
So the debate drags on – but in this case not helped by poor quality reporting by The Bookseller.
At last, some eBook sales figures to help make sense of what’s going on in a confusing publishing market!
Today, in an intriguing report, The Bookseller quoted Tim Hely-Hutchinson, Group CEO of giant Publisher, Hachette UK, owner of Hodder Headline as saying that ‘eBooks now accounted for 5% of Hachette’s total sales in the fourth quarter (of 2010)’.
Other fascinating facts revealed by The Bookseller;
- USA eBook sales have been tripling year on year, from 1% of total sales in 2008 to 9% this year.
- Hachette claim to have a 22% share of e-book sales, ‘outperforming our market leading 15.5% share in print books’.
- Hachette will have 15,000 titles available as e-books by 2012, up from 5,000 now. This would account for 10% of sales.
- Hachette has made major investments this year in order to respond to digital change including ‘Biblio3, an operating system for managing print and digital books from pre-acquisition to publication, a digital asset management system to store and distribute all digital files and a new web system for internal and author websites’.
- Google’s planned move into e-books next year “might be another game-changer“
Buzzle.com published an estimate this month from IT analyst’s Gartner predicting the number of eBook reader sales in 2011. Fascinating stuff, here’s a taste of their report;
‘The global sale of electronic eBook readers will reach up to 6.6 million units by the end of 2010. This will be a stupendous 79.3% rise from the earlier sales figures of 2009, which saw a sale of 3.6 million units worldwide’.
North America has recorded the greatest number of eBook reader sales in 2010, with a share of 4 million units.
Competition in the eBook reader sector is heating up by the day – Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Sony’s eBook Reader and Apple’s iPad.
‘If demand continues to rise at this rate globally, we can expect the global eBook reader sales to reach the 11 million mark in 2011’.
So game-on, I feel. There’s no going back now. This Christmas will almost certainly see an increase in the number of eReaders – the Kindle apparently has the largest market share and then there’s that iPad – boosting eBook sales even further.
There are still an awful lot of printed books being sold! It’s not quite reached a tipping point – yet!
Attending this month’s Charity Leaders Conference, ‘Aiming 4 Excellence’ at Swanwick gave me the perfect opportunity to experiment with conference tweeting! Only you can give the true verdict, I just enjoyed it – although some might have thought I was welded throughout to my mobile!
For those of you who missed my twitter stream (Conference Hashtag #a4e10), here it is!
Monday 29 November; at the UK Christian Charity Leaders conference in snowy Derbyshire; Aiming 4 Excellence. I’ll tweet a bit this week using #a4e10
1st Plenary with Bishop of Liverpool, Right Rev James Jones; Big society & nature of community
+James; ‘Aiming for excellence means excelling in creating a fairer society – creating a balance between need & abundance’
+James; ‘Wash one another’s feet (John 13) is the essence of true society – the big society – a mutuality of giving & receiving’
+James; ‘Big Society. Churches used to provide services from cradle to grave. Our time has come again, as the State can’t afford to’
+James; ‘Society is not bothered by a ‘fragmented’ church but whether the World religions can live together on this Planet without blowing it up’!
Evening seminar; the challenge of being a Christian employer, keeping up with employment law. Hopefully more answers than questions?
Wednesday 30 November; with 300 Christian Charity Leaders. Plenary sessions today; Prof Jim Saker, Sir Peter Vardy & Dame Suzi Leather; should be good?
Plenary 2 with Jim Slater (Professor of Retail Management) – ‘the changing socio-economic environment’
Whoops … Prof Jim Saker … Sorry!
Jim Saker; rapid overview of world-class brands. Nokia, Innocent Smoothies, Toyota, Apple, Red Bull, Obama
Jim Saker; ‘Organisations should build up social media, engage with influencers and embrace two-way online interaction’
Conference worship being led by Geraldine Latty; sensitive, worshipful, uplifting, spirit-filled
Snowing hard here in Derbyshire!
Plenary 3; Sir Peter Vardy & son Peter Vardy; values, distinctives & challenges – faith in practice
Sir Peter Vardy on Business; ‘Have right values, live by those values, set an example, do the right thing and pursue excellence’
Peter Vardy (son) on Leadership; ‘Combine a humble approach with a ferocious drive. Look on fast pace of change as a positive’
Sir Peter Vardy; ‘Having too many charities is an issue in itself. We have an opportunity and time is right for some to join forces’
Sir Peter Vardy; ‘I urge you (UK charities) to think about joining together. You are far stronger together than being apart’
It’s been snowing hard all day here at Swanwick in Derbyshire – still snowing now – tomorrows return home looks ‘interesting’!
Plenary 4 with Dame Suzi Leather, Chair of the Charity Commission
This could get interesting! CC chair, Suzi Leather is snowbound in London so this Plenary will be via pre-recorded video link!
Sadly no speech by Dame Suzi – defeated by the weather and the technology. Instead, an interview with Geraldine Latty
Dame Suzi Leather’s Plenary Session - available here - very disappointing that the snowy weather intervened
Good night everyone – here’s hoping that we can dig out and get away in the morning. I like Swanwick but not enough to stay any longer!
Wednesday 1st December; Snow at Aiming 4 Excellence conference in Swanwick. Over a 1ft of the white-stuff this morning. What a week!
Phew; we’re out of Derbyshire. Over a foot of snow overnight. Our intrepid CEO dug out car before rest of us got up! Dedication indeed!
#a4e10 round-up; superb worship, quick-fire Saker, honest and incisive Vardy interview, disappointing Suzi Leather no-show, so much snow!
My post-tweet conference verdict?
Good overall, but not as engaging as in 2007 and badly affected by the Siberian weather.
You can view the Aiming 4 Excellence conference website here.