Apple now holds about 20 percent of the U.S. ebook market, director Keith Moerer said in court Tuesday… Most estimates had placed Apple’s U.S. ebook market share at around 10 percent, with Amazon’s Kindle at 50 to 60 percent and Barnes & Noble’s Nook at 25 percent. But Moerer said the iBookstore’s market share was 20 percent in the first few months after the iBookstore’s launch, Publishers Weekly reports, and is about 20 percent now. (If this is true, the other retailers’ market shares would need to be adjusted downward, since Google and Kobo likely hold 1 to 2 percent of the U.S. ebook market.) From PW:

Apple: We have 20 percent of the U.S. ebook market — paidContent (via interestingsnippets)

"About 20%" is not a fact it is a marketing number given by an Apple Executive. Unless that figure comes from Nielson or Bowker reported POS data (and even then is would be based on incomplete data) I would round down generously. The only fact we all can agree on is no one really knows beyond generalizations.

The sad irony about digital publishing is we look for sales data like its the face of the Virgin Mary in a piece of toast. We want to believe so much that if we squint at it enough we make it so…  ~eP

Slicebooks’ re-mixable ebooks, DRM’s negative impact on digital publishing, and how B&N can compete with Amazon

I am all for new and innovative ebook formats and business models like Slicebooks re-mixable ebooks and applaud the courage of the small companies that are innovating and pushing ebook evolution but I also worry that that is where the problem of the recent slowing of ebook growth really lies. The only innovations are coming from small, young companies that have little traffic and overwhelming odds stacked against them. Because of DRM segregation and the theory of creating consumer concentration camps we have gone from a garden environment were seeds are allowed to grow to a coo coo bird environment where eggs can only hatch if laid in Amazon’s nest. 

With all the talk of Nook being in trouble wouldn’t this be a perfect opportunity for Barnes & Noble (and the Big 6) to refocus back on the book instead of the device? What if Barnes & Noble dropped DRM and started making my ebooks available to anyone with any ebook reader and gave consumers more options on how to buy ebook content like chuncking and monthly subscriptions. People ultimately just want the same simplicity of buying a print book, and the same selection. B&N can compete if they open their borders and force Amazon to become like Apple was to Microsoft, the “closed society”. You have to give readers more freedom than Amazon if you hope to compete. Why not tear down DRM, the Berlin wall of ecommerce? Study after study shows piracy has little effect on actual retail sales. All DRM does is force consumers to have to take a risk in making a choice and then it reminds them every day that the gate is locked behind them. I have yet to find one positive consumer interaction with DRM, it is just a tool for saying no. Instead of fostering a free market society the current ebook retail environment is creating little North Koreas and East Berlins were no one can innovate unless the state does. 

Rather than making reading easier like ebooks originally promised, by making it about the devices (which are just cup-holders) Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble have only succeeded in making buying a book as stressful as buying car.

Barnes & Noble is the only retailer large enough and in position to compete with Amazon and because of it’s brick and mortar business the only one with the buying leverage to push publishers and authors to get behind dropping DRM for ebooks once and for all. 

The window is open. If not now when?

~ eP

"EBook buyers read more books. They’re the future! We’re in the midst of a fantastic transition."  - John Glusman, editor-in-chief of W.W. Norton

There’s no doubt that we’re in a period of extraordinary change in terms of how we read, where we get our reading material from, and what platforms we use to access that material. The mere fact that there are so many devices on which one can read is tremendously encouraging, since distribution has always been the Achilles heel of book publishing.

EBook readers buy more books than those who buy traditional books. Children are reading hardcover and paperback books. Baby boomers have both the resources and the time to buy books in whatever format they find most desirable. (Full Article)

The curious incident of the books on the Kindle

If you had a pile of 300 books in your house waiting to be read, what would you do? Would you go out and buy any more books? I doubt it, even if you could battle your way to the front door. Yet if you’d got 300 books on your Kindle/iPad/Other E-Readers Are Available waiting to be read, would you stay in and click on any more ‘Buy It Now’ logos? More than possible. Because you probably wouldn’t even have noticed how many books were on there. Never mind 300, you can put 3000 books on an e-Reader and it’ll look and weigh just the same as if you had one on there. (Modern technology is the equivalent of those irritating people who can stuff chips and cakes down themselves all day long without every putting on an ounce.) And with so many e-Books costing pence rather than pounds, there’s precious little financial disincentive to keep buying either… (Full Article)

Apple and Amazon are positioning themselves to be able to resell used ebooks. Their argument is that a reader should be able to resell a book they bought and that they are merely providing the technology and service to allow readers this freedom - of course they take a percentage of the transaction for the honor.

But on the surface this sounds relatively reasonable and who can begrudge them wanting to make some money for liberating the consumer to resell their books until you begin to think about it. To sell your books you need to have people to sell to. Amazon and Apple will let you resell books to other Amazon and Apple consumers if you buy from them and store in their cloud. If you buy from Amazon you can’t resell to Apple or B&N or Google, or Kobo. All this further reinforces the division of format and divides audience and readers even more building higher the walls around content.

The biggest fear for Apple and Amazon is if we determine that ebooks are files that are licensed like a television show or radio broadcast. Then their hold on DRM segregation becomes weaker. Screens become just screens rather than keys to a walled garden. Models for reading built on Hulu or Spotify that give readers more access rather than restrict access become more viable and ebook access for libraries becomes more like licensing access to digital archives and collections than pulling teeth from publishers one tooth at a time.

If we as readers force the interpretation of right of first sale to ebooks we  may inadvertently shoot ourselves in the foot, stunt the evolution of digital book distribution, and leave retailers in control of publishing.


Don’t count B&N Out: Why jettisoning Nook may actually be B&N’s best strategic move in the last 5 years.

A recent Slate post called The End of Barnes & Noble mistakes devices as what Barnes & Noble sells.

iPad, Kindle, Nook, etc are devices - like televisions.  B&N sells books - like what you watch on televisions, and  iPads, Kindles, and smartphones via Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and torrents. As we move rapidly to new content business models it is important to remember that the Nook is sold on not the other way around.

Barnes & Noble is not necessarily grinding to a halt but instead divesting itself of an expensive electronics product line that has low margin and quickly becoming irrelevant as content becomes web based. As Amazon becomes more like Walmart and other big box retailers B&N may see that their strength lies in brand recognition. If you want a book go to the bookstore you know - online or brick & mortar. As we become more device agnostic B&N has a massive strategic advantage over Amazon in that they are a complete social experience with physical locations as gathering points in every State and major market across the country. Their name is synonymous with books. Their website is not bogged down in labyrinthine patches of proprietary code so they can perhaps be more limber and reactive in creating a more social and complete experience for a passionate and dedicated audience of book lovers.

Jettisoning Nook may actually be B&N’s best strategic move in the last 5 years. It may give them their best chance in competing for audience as books move from commodity to media and retailers move sellers of product to streaming channels of content on a global convergent screen.




And nobody summs up my annoyance better than this man right here:



Probably the most annoying matter, where Apple and Google are the biggest offenders, is…

Just a reminder that ebook sales numbers include a lot of  ”clicked on for other reason” transactions. Manipulating people to hit buy is not the same as reading. 


Comedians from The NSFW Show completely crowd-sourced a fake erotica book for the iBookstore. They compiled a collection of submissions from readers as The Diamond Club byPatricia Harkins-Bradley–telling readers to “please purchase and post a hilarious 5-star review” for the 99-cent title.

The video embedded above explains everything–what do you think? The fake book currently has 1,124 five star reviews and 12 one-star reviews. As you can see by the screen shot from iTunes, as of this writing, the book is currently ranked No. 4 out of all books in the iBookstore–topped only by the Fifty Shades of Greytrilogy.