The writing is on the
wall page display:
“We’re now seeing the transition we’ve been expecting. After five years, e-books is a multi-billion dollar category for us and growing fast—up approximately 70 percent last year,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just 5 percent. We’re excited and very grateful to our customers for their response to Kindle and our ever expanding ecosystem and selection.”
Touting growth in percentages is always misleading when comparing new products to mature ones, but there’s no question that e-book sales are cannibalizing print sales as expected. Given that Amazon is positioning itself as the dominant e-tailer for all digital media it’s also not surprising that it would be facilitating this transition, and willing to take a short-term revenue hit in order to grow long-term market share.
For authors, the question is not whether e-books are good or bad. The question is how e-books can best be used to help you reach your intended audience. Economics will always play a part in that calculation, but given that it’s now possible to produce and widely distribute content with little or no up-front capital I think every writer should feel good about that.
— Mark Barrett