Friday, August 16, 2013

E-book sales decline: Do people not want to read books on tablets?

Why Don't People Want to Read E-books on Tablets?

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Jeff Bezos shows off a new Kindle Fire.
Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP/GettyImages
We’ve been living through an e-book boomtime. Two years ago, Amazon turned heads by announcing that sales of digital books had eclipsed those of hardcovers, and the trend has only continued. But a recent pair of reports shows that a plateau may be coming. The Association of American Publishers claims that this year’s first quarter saw only a 5 percent increase in e-book sales, which is strikingly low compared with previous quarters. Nielsen reports that e-book sales actually fell in April, if only slightly, compared with same period last year. This is significant because it marks the first-ever decline in the market. If the current numbers hold, then e-books will maintain 25 percent of the overall book market.

Nicholas Carr reflects on these data on his Rough Type blog, and he brainstorms a list of potential culprits. His suggestions include the possibility that we’ve run out of readers willing to make the jump from print to e-reading; that readers are no longer purchasing e-books simply for novelty’s sake; and that the e-book format may be proving conducive only to limited kinds of reading, such as travel reading.* Read more...

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