Amazon painted a picture of accererating growth in the the sales of e-books, which can be read on its Kindle device and through software on a host of other devices, including Apple’s iPad and iPhone. Competitor Barnes and Noble offers nook.
In June, Apple CEO Steve Jobs had claimed that his company’s iBookstore, which had launched in April, had taken over 20% of the market.
Publishers said it is too early to tell whether the growth of e-books is also impacting the sales of softcover books, a huge and crucial market.
Mike Shatzkin, CEO of The Idea Logical Company, which advises book publishers on digital change, said “this was a day that had to come.” Mr. Shatzkin predicts that within a decade, fewer than 25 percent of all books sold will be print versions. Book lovers mourning the demise of hardcover books with their heft and musty smell need a reality check, he warned.
I discussed the impact of Kindle and nook at the Quo Vadis annual meeting in June. It is not so much the proliferation of electronic devices that worries me, since we have lived with them and computer calendar programs for ten years now.
My worry is the loss of bookstores – both chains and independents – and other places that sell books and related paper products like planners and journals. The more we go electronic, the fewer places there will be to buy paper. Many of the independents we do business with are worried; increasingly they have to deal with rising rent and declining foot traffic.
How do you see this Amazon milestone impacting your life?