The Washington Post says ebooks won’t outperform print. For the short term it does appear that ebook sales are leveling off. According to a recent article in The Washington Post, ebook sales went from enjoying a 28-percent growth in 2012 and a 252-percent growth in 2010 to realizing only a 5-percent growth in the first quarter of 2013. The Washington Post’s theory is that ebooks will not outperform print books, but will only serve as a complement to them. We disagree. Yes, ebook sales have slowed from 2010, when ereaders first exploded onto the market. Consider, though, that along with that explosion of ereaders, there were people purchasing massive amounts of books to fill their digital libraries, regardless of whether or not they had the time to read all of those books. It’s no wonder that sales have slowed. But there are many other reasons:
- eBook sales increase around the holidays, so look for the 2013 growth to improve by the end of the year
- Most ebook reporting comes from established publishers and does not include data on indie authors who self-publish. Is there really a slowing in the amount of sales, or have sales shifted to indie authors? We think it’s the latter.
- The next ebook boom is still coming, since most kids under the age of 10 prefer ebooks to print books. In a survey of more than 30,000 kids aged 8-16, the U.K. National Literacy Trust discovered that not only are more kids reading on electronic devices than they are traditional books, but more than half prefer reading books electronically (32 percent preferred print, 16 percent didn’t like to read).