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Thursday News: ebook sales are declining and growing; YA ebooks too...

But Cader goes on to note (despite the headline and the led) “But that does not mean ebooks have declined in significance to the trade. In that respect, actually, ebooks continue to gain — albeit slightly. Part of that is because all trade sales have declined so far this year.” He also notes that August ebook sales were strong and the second biggest month of 2013 so far and +36% better than last year. I don’t have access to the numbers so I can’t really parse them out for you. Publishers Lunch

My friend has a book club where they’ve read everything from Kite Runner to 50 Shades. Every single one has a Kindle. At my mother / daughter book club there is a mix of paper books and digital devices, all reading the same book. (Yes, it’s still a book in digital). There might be something fetishistic about paper or about digital but drawing strained metaphors doesn’t make me interested in picking up any works drafted by the author of the piece. The Daily Dot

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

22 Comments

  1. Shannon Stacey
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 07:41:38

    My son turns thirteen tomorrow, reads via the Kindle app on his iPod Touch, and is going to break me. My last five book buys that weren’t novellas or bargain buys totaled $19.38. The last five books I bought for the kid totaled $43.47.

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  2. Lisa J
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 08:09:57

    Is the decline of people owning an e-reader the reason Sony has their readers listed as discontinued on their website? Or, is it because they are going to start offering a new one?

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  3. Jane
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 08:11:47

    @Lisa J: Sony appears to be withdrawing from the US device market entirely. I don’t believe they are going to continue to sell ereader devices in the US

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  4. Amanda
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 08:19:48

    A little earlier this year I was reading several NA books and at that time I also heard great things about some books labeled YA, specifically there were some HarlequinTeen books that were highly recommended but the price scared away any interest I had. The fact that these high prices are so common makes me feel bad for young readers.

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  5. Suzy K
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 08:45:45

    Found the article on ebooks from publisher’s lunch republished here:
    http://beattiesbookblog.blogspot.com/2013/11/ebook-sales-are-in-decline-for-now-as.html

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  6. Jayne
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 08:47:25

    @Jane: I’m going to go off in a corner and cry over this.

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  7. Rachel Aukes
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 09:04:41

    I see the younger crowd incredibly active on Wattpad, where they can read as many stories as they’d like for free (and all stories are assigned PG, PG13, R, etc., ratings), much like a library. I suspect Wattpad’s popularity has rocketed because younger readers can grab new books (even though the selection is limited) to read on their smartphones without needing permission from their parents to buy a book. And, when they can read so much for free, they’re becoming trained to not want to spend much cash on books (similar to the 99c ebook effect).

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  8. Brian
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 09:42:25

    @Jane:
    Yes, Sony announced they were not going to bring their new PRS-T3 to the US market and encouraged folks to buy one of their tablets instead (and use the Sony reader app).

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  9. Lisa J
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 10:08:52

    @Jayne: I’ll join you in the corner. I LOVE my Sony.

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  10. Darlynne
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 10:09:00

    Every time I read about the decline of digital book sales, it seems there’s another article/opinion that sales of the same are going strong. Or perhaps that’s just me looking at all the books in my reading apps and Calibre and thinking, “Good heavens, they’re multiplying like rabbits.”

    This entire discussion by publishers and industry insiders has a crazed “my sister, my daughter, my sister” vibe to it that I’m just going to ignore from now on. My sky is not falling.

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  11. Charming Euphemism
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 10:09:11

    @Rachel Aukes:

    Makes sense to me. I didn’t buy a lot of books as a teenager either, due to not having that kind of money. I went to the library and the used book store, and got books for birthdays and Christmas.

    My kids have more money than I did, and buy more new books, but they still read the freebies at Amazon and fan fiction, and get Amazon gift certificates for birthdays and Christmas.

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  12. anon2013
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 10:19:49

    I gave my 10 year old $20 for her school’s book fair. She bought five paperback mysteries geared for middle readers. She still had some change left. I thought that was pretty good. She also has a Kindle Fire, but doesn’t read much on it. I’ve bought a few Newbery books for us to read together and several free classics for her. She mostly uses the Kindle for games and surfing, though. Part of this may due to the fact that she can’t bring her Kindle to school (if she did it would probably get stolen or broken). My 13 year old would probably read on her iPhone or laptop, but she still prefers print books. I don’t want either of my kids sharing my account, because I own ebooks I don’t want them reading!

    Re Sony: not surprised. I’ve retired my old Sony Reader, but am glad to have the app so I can read what I purchased on my iPhone when the urge strikes me.

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  13. Shannon Stacey
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 10:22:33

    @anon2013: I ended up making a separate account for my son so he couldn’t get into my library. (And because of the cover carousel on the Fire.) I’m signed in to Amazon in Chrome and he’s signed into Amazon in Safari, which makes it fairly painless.

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  14. Christine M.
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 10:28:22

    I think Sony gave up on the US because of how much users over there rely on Amazon (I swaer it’s always ‘Amazon this, Amazon that’, ‘Kindle this, Kindle, that’…). The Sony Reader market on the rest of the planet is alive and kicking AFAIK. If anyone needs me to ‘smuggle’ then a Sony Reader at some point, holler, there will always be a nice Canadian up North ready to mail you one. :)

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  15. Joy B
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 12:01:12

    I loved my Sony Reader….then got myself a Nook Glowlight last year for Christmas and haven’t touched my Sony since.

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  16. Aly
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 12:15:09

    I always thought that Kindle and eBook prices were way too high. I think eBooks should cost half or less than a physical copy.

    In my country eReaders and eBook are something that only like 2% of the population buys for themselves and NEVER for their kids. It’s way too pricey.
    I live in a European country where unemployment numbers are staggering and many people live on a minimum wage of under €500 a month (and the monthly rent for a small 3-bedroom apartment is about €600). eBooks in my language are sold at €10 to €20, the same price as hard copies.
    Even though I know a lot of people (rich or poor), I don’t know anyone in my country who actually owns an eReader. On the other hand, I know people who actually take out loans to buy the latest iPhone or iPad. For their children, people are willing to buy a €100 smartphone, but definitely not an iPad or eReader.

    I’m not sure if the whole e-book business can “stick” in other countries as well as it did in the States.

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  17. Kay
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 13:24:13

    @Shannon Stacey: Regarding making a separate account for your son, I don’t know how much crossover you two have, but wouldn’t it be great if Amazon supported the ability to filter books for specific devices registered with an account? My family reads with enough crossover that this is currently our largest issue. (Alternatively, if publishers allowed more books to be lent, that would help as well.)

    (Yes, I’m hoping that this really does already exist and someone will clue me in!)

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  18. Shannon Stacey
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 13:27:39

    I would love to be able to “partition” my Kindle buys. I made a separate account for my son, but my account also supplies my husband’s and mother’s Kindles. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve warned my mom that if she goes poking into the library for something to read, she might find herself with GREATLY broadened horizons.

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  19. Elisa
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 14:25:38

    Just wanted to say, I sent in the ancient love letter link, and it is truly heartbreaking. Centuries old but the love is still palpable.

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  20. Sunny
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 15:55:14

    Books make up 60% of our big chain bookstore’s sales, although we have no way to really track how many people are also buying ebooks or which customers have switched over (you’d think we would as we’re partnered with Kobo). Our numbers this year are on par with last year’s, but our book percentage has been steadily shrinking. We do see an uptick for the holidays as people still really like to give physical books as gifts (I know I do), but we also sell Kobo gift cards and e-readers.

    If they only counted adult books, did they take YA into account? It’s so huge the last couple of years that might explain some of the numbers.

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  21. Jenny
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 16:33:20

    I think I like that acapella version of Royals better than the original!

    As for the YA book prices… they are insane! I read some YA, but I find that I’m generally picking them up second hand or when they go on sale for Kindle.

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  22. Kaetrin
    Nov 22, 2013 @ 02:32:30

    I love my Sony too, but I’m so disappointed they haven’t come out with a version with a light – like the Kindle Paperwhite or the Kobo Glo. They still sell the Sony’s here too but there’s no point in upgrading when the new model is basically the same as my PRS650. I am tempted to check out the Kobo though – I would like that light.

    And @Jane – I hear you. I am really good at resisting my son’s request for toys or games, but books? I cave really easily.

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