Posts Tagged ‘Hachette UK’

Book Trade; eBook Sales – nonsensical figures in The Bookseller

December 20, 2010 4 comments

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.


Book Trade; eBook Sales – One UK Publisher’s figures revealed

December 17, 2010 6 comments

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 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!

Book Trade; eBook sales v. Hardbacks – Hype or Tipping Point?

July 20, 2010 15 comments

Update; Friday 23rd July – Further facts emerged today concerning the sales performance of eBooks.  The reports that June saw further Kindle eBook sales growth with the ratio rising to 180 eBooks for every 100 Hardbacks sold in that month.  Authoritative figures from the UK’s largest publishing house, Hachette UK, stated that ‘digital formats’ now represent 8% of their sales by volume – this is five times higher than in 2009. Clearly, the gap is closing fast.

Nielsen figures (for Jan to Mar 2010) show that hardbacks are just over 20% of the UK market (by volume).

The goes on to say that the first mass market author to exceed 1 million eBook sales is James Patterson with 1.14m in total.  Most publishers in the UK seem to be seeing fairly rapid growth in their eBook sales.  

Nielsen also announced today that they would launch a UK eBook sales chart ‘within a matter of months’, another sure sign of a rapidly changing marketplace.

Perhaps the jury is still out but it would be a brave person who suggests that this is all going to die away and come to nothing. We shall see!



July 20th – according to a report on The today (see, Amazon are now selling more Kindle eBooks than physical Hardbacks. In the three month period – April to June 2010 – for every 100 hardbacks sold online, 143 Kindle eBooks were downloaded.

This was picked up in an excellent piece on BBC Radio 4 tonight and the question posed to a couple of guests, ‘Do these sales figures represent a tipping point and does this mean the demise of the case-bound book’?

There followed a mixed but measured response. Two points stood out in my mind; first, that the physical book really can be an ‘escape’ for people who spend all day, every day on a screen and therefore do not want to have to read on-screen in their leisure time. Secondly, earlier parallels were noted with radio v. television and cinema v. video.  The newer technologies represented a threat to the old but in both these cases, radio and the cinema have survived and indeed are thriving.

However, the argument breaks down when you compare CD’s and downloadable music. In this case, online music is clearly winning against the physical CD. I buy much of my music online and just occasionally I will buy an actual CD.  I enjoy reading the inside cover notes and admiring the photographs and the design but that still is not enough to prevent me from buying my music online.


I was lent this lovely casebound book at the weekend and I truly appreciate the physical ‘feel’ of a beautiful book. I’m just not sure, that at this stage, I’m quite ready to give up that pleasure to buy online and read on-screen. On the other hand, do I really want to ‘lug’ all 600 hardback pages onto a plane when it can reside so easily on an eReader?

So does this latest report from Amazon represent simple marketing hype or is this really the tipping point in the seemingly inexorable rise of the eBook?


%d bloggers like this: