Nov 30 2009
Last week, Borders UK was forced into administration due to its outstanding debt. Borders US is a separate corporate entity but does own a small percentage of the UK Borders. Causes of Borders UK decline include internet competition from Amazon.uk and ebooks. Borders UK reported £13.6m in pre-tax losses in 2008. Publishers are concerned with their stock. The Independent notes that a pre holiday liquidation sale of stock at Borders UK could result in losses for other bookstores such as Waterstones or WH Smith.
Speaking of bookselling in the UK, the Guardian has a write up about how Waterstones has killed the small bookstore combined with the collapse of the Net Book Agreement which allowed retailers to agree not to discount books. The artificially high pricing allowed publishers to subsidize the printing of important but less well selling books by the income earned off bestsellers. (This is still the primary way that publishers run their business with 20% of the titles supporting the remaining 80%). Waterstones is facing stiff competition from Amazon because the latter has no physical retail expenses. The article further wonders whether Waterstones is hastening its own demise by selling ebooks. (Thanks Dr. Vivanco for the link)
Teleread links to the weekly On the Media radio show which talked about the rising volume of books released in the U.S. annually, about a half million. With the rise of the digital market and the ease of entry, the volume of books pressed on the reader will be overwhelming. Effective filtering and curation will be a valuable resource in the evolving market.
The nook is sold out at Barnes and Noble. Any pre Christmas purchase of the nook will have to take place via a third party like eBay with you, the consumer, paying a super premium price for the holiday delivery of the electronic reading device. Mike Elgan, of Computerworld, suggests that you just wait. I agree. 2010 will see the launch of inexpensive netbook tablets, Android based web tablets and use of reflective LCD shipping from Pixel Qi. And, possibly, the Apple Tablet.
iPhone owners (and this presumably includes iTouch owners as well) consume more digital media, including digital books, than the average user.
While only 30% of the entire population would download an ebook and 29% would buy a digital magazine, 42% of iPhone users will buy ebooks and 38% are up for reading digital magazines.