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E-Books and the Future of Publishing (part ii)

posted 25 Sept 2012, 12:59 by Oscar Duggan   [ updated 7 Jul 2013, 14:31 ]
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E-Publishing: The Statistics Tell a Story

Continuing our series on E-Books and the Future of Publishing (the first instalment, in case you missed it, is available here) we examine certain notable trends that have emerged with the advent of e-books; both in market terms and as a reading option. 

A recent survey from the US has been made available in the very helpful format of an inforgraph by (see below). What this illustration helps us to do is to discern the key trends, as well as what cognisance authors, writers, independent publishers should give to them where their own writing and publishing ambitions are concerned.

There are no startling conclusions presented here, in the sense that they largely bear out previous surveys and hypotheses. For example, we can see that owners of e-readers tend to be among the more avid group of readers; some are possibly encouraged to read more on account of owning such a device. These are the people who really like to read and read a lot; more than the average person at any rate. Among their number would be a certain group who are inclined to seek out others with similar reading tastes; people with whom they can share their views on what they have read. 

The implications of this for authors approaching e-publishing is that you are targeting a readership that is likely to be receptive, but also very critical. They belong to a discerning group; as distinct from those who probably get as much satisfaction from simply collecting books as they do from reading them. This latter are the ones who enjoy the look and feel of a book or simply like to have them about the place. And before we dismiss completely the traditional printed book, let's not forget the market that consists of those who buy books to give as presents. The assumption is that these people would tend to prefer the traditional printed form of book for such a purpose; and this survey seems to bear that out. 

Indeed, while the figures presented here clearly show that the e-book represents the growing segment of the overall market where books are concerned, it has yet to outstrip, let alone establish dominance over the traditional printed form. 72% of American adults said that they had read a printed book in the last year; compared to only 21% in the case of e-books. Of course this will certainly change as sales of e-readers are expected to double over the next three years. Amazon's Kindle is way out in front in terms of preferred e-reading device; with only Barnes and Noble's Nook offering anything like competition. 

While these results are based on data which was collected within the US, they are likely to be also reflective of more general trends worldwide. E-books represent an international market that is largely free of borders. However since the US section of the market is currently the biggest for this category, results of such surveys are always going to make people stand up and take notice. The recent announcement by Amazon that it is to expand its Kindle operations into India could herald changes in this regard. It is after all a potentially huge market that includes some 100 million English speakers; and that's before we consider the country's diaspora. 

As with all markets, authors and publishers will naturally pitch initially to those places that seem to offer the best prospects. The best market for your book isn't always the biggest but it is usually the hardest to ignore. 

For authors, writers, independent publishers interested in exploring the e-publishing route, The Manuscript Publisher offers a comprehensive set of services in this area. If you would like to discuss or explore your options feel free to contact us. We have helped a number of authors to e-publish their books and to market and sell using the various platforms (Amazon, Smashwords, among others). Our e-publishing services are among the ones that we plan to expand in the coming months. 

The Rise of eReading: Are Books Going to Become an Endangered Species?
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