eBooks ... By the Numbers
E-Books Not So Cheap for Publishers: True Cost $12.99?
"Contrary to popular belief, the costs of creating an e-book and a hardcover edition are similar," wrote Andrew Schneider recently, in an article, "What It Costs for a Best-selling E-book: $12.99," on WashingtonPost.com. "Many e-books lose money for publishers; e-books that sell millions of copies offset losses from less popular books," he noted.
Schneider estimated that the cost to publishers, including editing, marketing, overhead, royalties, operating profit, etc., is $9.09. The cost to retailers is $3.90. So the price to the consumer, based on these costs, would be $12.99.
Kindling Sales: Amazon.com Tops $10 Billion in Q4
Amazon.com Inc. reported its first quarter surpassing $10 billion in sales in fourth-quarter 2010, as a result of growing third-generation Kindle sales, according to the company. Net sales increased 36 percent to $12.95 billion, compared with $9.52 billion in fourth-quarter 2009.
"Thanks to our customers, we achieved two big milestones," commented Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, in a company press release. "We had our first $10-billion quarter, and after selling millions of third-generation Kindles with the new Pearl E Ink display during the quarter, Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on Amazon.com. Last July, we announced that Kindle books had passed hardcovers and predicted that Kindle would surpass paperbacks in the second quarter of this year, so this milestone has come even sooner than we expected, and it's on top of continued growth in paperback sales."
Since the beginning of 2010, for every 100 paperback books Amazon sold, the company reportedly sold 115 Kindle books across Amazon.com's entire U.S. book business. The company also reports that it sold three times as many Kindle books as hardcover books during the year. (The company noted that free Kindle books are excluded from these figures, and, if included, would make the numbers even higher.)
According to Amazon.com, the U.S. Kindle Store now offers more than 810,000 books, including new releases and 107 of 112 New York Times Best-Sellers. More than 670,000 of these books are $9.99 or less, including 74 New York Times Best-Sellers. Millions of free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books also are available.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" now is the best-selling product in Amazon's history on the third-generation Kindle.
Verkäufe Bücher: Print Still Dominates the German Market
The international book market can paint a slightly different picture when it comes to e-book sales, depending which country you're exploring. In Germany, the market is "still very much dominated by print," wrote Gottfried Honnefelder, president of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association, in überblick 2011, the Frankfurt Book Fair newspaper. In 2009, "all titles were sold primarily in print form, and only rarely as digital books. Estimates suggest, in fact, that e-books currently account for no more than 1 percent of sales," according to Honnefelder.
Like many other countries, however, e-book growth is anticipated, with Honnefelder noting, "… The future will be digital. Around a third of all new releases are already available in Germany as e-books; in textbooks and academic titles, that figure rises to half."
Some projections indicate that e-books could comprise as much as 15 percent of the market in just five years, according to Honnefelder. BB