Have ebooks plateaued?

Sales of ebooks have stopped growing in the United States and Canada, according to recent data.  The ever-critical Nicholas Carr suggests that ebooks have hit a limit, and assembles this graph:

Image

Carr also has some good thoughts as to why this might be happening.  I’m struck by this observation:

The e-book may turn out to be more a complement to the printed book, as audiobooks have long been, rather than an outright substitute.

I can add a few thoughts.

  1. This growth problem certainly seems to be happening in the etextbook market, which Carr doesn’t address.  etextbooks are certainly growing very slowly for a variety of reasons (limited features, student expectations, price points).
  2. Carr also doesn’t touch on the Department of Justice court wins against Apple and a raft of major publishers.  Perhaps that saga kept ebook prices up, removing one reason for their appeal.
  3. The promise of ebooks offering formal feature differences has largely failed to materialize.  Most ebooks are basically text, ported-over pdfs and Word documents.  There simply aren’t that many ebooks which include interactivity, multimedia, or formal experimentation. (cf Om Malik)

So did ebooks just reach a limit, or are they about to decline, or is this a blip?  After all, ebooks are now the leading element in adult fiction.

(via Slashdot)

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Have ebooks plateaued?

  1. singlesoliloquy says:

    Reblogged this on Tim Lepczyk.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Trendlines towards the end of 2013 | Bryan Alexander

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s