The shifting landscape for booksPosted December 2nd, 2011 by Thomas Norman DeWolf
When my first book, Inheriting the Trade, came out almost four years ago, it was initially available in hardcover and audio formats. Within a year it became available in softcover and digital editions. The softcover is the preferred version for reading clubs and is now in its second printing.
The digital launch of Inheriting the Trade was pretty low-key. How things have changed in four short years. EBooks have become the fastest growing segment of the publishing world. According to the American Association of Publishers, eBook sales in August 2011 were up 116.5% over August 2010. Sales of hardcover books in the same time period were down 11.2%; softcover sales were down 5.7%. The one other bright spot in book sales was for downloaded audio: up 30.2%.
When Sharon and I met with the marketing and publicity team at Beacon Press in late October regarding next year’s publication of Gather at the Table, they made a point of letting us know that our book will be available digitally right from the start.
Sales of Amazon’s Kindle readers quadrupled on Black Friday this year compared with 2010. Barnes and Noble experienced a loss in the third quarter this year due to the decline in the sale of physical books. They plan to invest more heavily in their Nook e-book reader and digital media.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you own a digital reader? How do you like it? If you don’t own one, why not? Personally, I haven’t invested in one yet. Until recently I never even considered it. Now, I’ll be surprised if I don’t have one by the time Gather at the Table is published next October…
Eastern Mennonite University
Harlem Book Fair
Phillis Wheatley Book Award
Post Racial Society
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