This has been a day for it. All my sources are talking about nothing else.
There’s some good stuff here. The real problem is two-fold:
- The transitional future of the dedicated ereader
- Getting book discovery out of the hands of Amazon
The ereader is going
Some of this may be wishful thinking on my part. But the sales stats are proving my assumptions to be true. Tablet sales are coming to dominate the ereader market. Regular Kindles, Nook, Kobo, and Sony [plus all the rest] will gradually disappear, as far as I can tell.
Kindle and the Fire
This is really big for those of us self-publishing today, as you know. Amazon dominates the new self-publisher’s reality for book sales. However, in the total book market, Amazon is not nearly as big as you might think [they only dominate in the US]. Moreover, the traditional publishers are REALLY upset about Amazon’s potential stranglehold on the book market. They are and will be doing everything they can think of to take control back from Amazon.
Kindle supposedly has about a third of the Android tablet sales. But then the Fire sold a few million in the last quarter of 2012 [we think] whereas the iPad sold nearly 23 million. Tablet sales are supposed to be around 229 million in 2013 [62.3 million in the US], best guess so far. Some think that tablet sales in 2014 will be up to about 276 million with Android having maybe 42% of those sales [yes that means the iPad will have 58% of the market potentially]. But that’s a guess about 2014, this year and last year the iPad has beaten the Fire by two to one. Worldwide, the iPad beats the Fire by nearly 4 to 1.
“In the worldwide market, where Amazon has a far smaller presence, the relative positions are reversed. According to IDC, Apple was still the leader with a 43.6% share of shipments in Q4 2012 , followed by Samsung (15.1%) and then Amazon (11.5%).” ComScore
Tablet sales expected to pass laptop sales this year some time
Actually, it’s even more serious than that. Technobuffalo shares an IDC report which sees 229 million tablets sold in 2013—more than the number of laptops. It also projects that tablets will sell more than 400 million units in 2015—surpassing the sales of laptops plus desktops.
Tablets are rapidly becoming the only family computer. Most families do not need anything more than that. What is also clear is the the iPad Mini is also showing the future. The same IDC report shows Mini-size tablets [under 8″ screen] reaching 57% of tablet sales by 2017.
Getting book discovery separated from Amazon
This portion of the problem is much more serious. I know I would drop Amazon like a brick if I could get ta superior shgopping interface for books. I want DRM-free ePUBs which I actually own. No one is really selling them well at this point. But they will. The questions: “Who will do it?” Amazon is smart enough to go in that direction—but they may be too greedy. Nook, Kobo, and the iBookstore are terrible clumsy experiences [and that is being generous]. CBD [Christian Book Distributors] is doing a pretty good job for Christian books—but their ebooks are limited to their proprietary ereader which is one of the worst available.
What do you suggest for book discovery? Where do you go for new books? I tend to use email subscriptions. What else works for you?