Major publishers are starting to see lower than expected quarterly results because of the novelty of the e-book has severely waned.
Some of the largest publishers such as Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster are facing tough times. Total profit dropped 5.6% at S&S and approximately 12% for Penguin. The lack of revenue is primarily attributed to the lack of bestselling titles and lower e-book sales.
Publisher’s Weekly weighed in on the issue “one reason for the 2014 decline in revenue and earnings was also a drop in digital sales. E-books accounted for 23.2% of S&S sales last year, down from 24.4% in 2013. Total digital revenue, which includes downloadable audio, generated 26.4% of revenue, down from 27.1% in 2013.”
If you look at it from an outsiders prospective, whats a few percentage points lost with a billion dollar publishing industry? Most insiders are saying its a tremendously big deal. Most booksellers are at the mercy of Amazon who tries to get the lowest price possible on digital editions, so they can out price most other online stores. Publishers are also worrying about Amazon getting into the publishing industry with their many imprints and new Kindle Scout program.
Is the novelty of e-books wearing off? It depends on who you ask. I think the main reason is that 95% of all US libraries currently have an e-book collection and its very easily to borrow them. e-Book subscription sites have also gained traction with Entitle, Scribd and Oyster offering compelling value propositions.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.