So you can read my books

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Poor holiday sales showed both declines in Barnes & Noble’s retail business

 and its Nook Media business versus last year.

Following a successful Black Friday, sales of Nook devices failed to meet holiday expectations, said CEO William Lynch.

Amazon didn’t say that this was the best year ever for hardware sales. A similar statement was in the 2010 and 2011 press release, but not the press release that came out yesterday. So perhaps even sales were down for the Kindle as well.

Apple's tablet overwhelmingly dominates the market, but loses more than 7 percent to Amazon, according to new research.

More Americans are reading ebooks than ever before, according to a new study:

Nearly a quarter of Americans read an ebook in the last year, up from 16% a year ago, according to a study released today by the Pew Internet and American Life project. The increase coincides with an increase of e-reading device ownership

Libraries have seen an increase in ebook borrowing, according to the study. Some 5% of Americans borrowed an ebook this year versus 3% last year.

Just like in the book publishing industry, the rise of e-books is propelling libraries into a revolution.

 The most basic questions of library operations are in play.

For example, libraries are not able to purchase access to some titles. Other titles are available, but pricing and other access terms are markedly less favorable as compared to print books.

In 2012, Amazon and other retailers gained control over ebook pricing at three major publishers, ebook revenue growth hit an inflection point, and a parade of non-book-publishing companies entered the ebook business.

What will happen next?

1. More consolidation.
One of the biggest news items of the year was the proposed merger between Penguin and Random House. If the merger goes through, the combined company will be by far the largest publishing house in the world.

There will be “more consolidation in the big-six publishers, especially in acquiring mid-size publishers,” said Andrew Rhomberg, founder of ebook discovery start-up Jellybooks and DBW Expert Blogger.

2. 2013 will be the year of the enhanced ebook.

So why this year?

First, “there will be an increased appetite for illustrated and nonfiction books that did not sit well on e-readers,” said Jo Henry, director of Bowker Market Research, a book-focused research firm.

Second, more people will have the devices that make reading enhanced ebooks pleasurable with the precipitous rise of tablets.

3. The $0 Kindle.

It’s a prediction that was made last year, but this year will finally be the year that we see a free e-reader, specifically a free Kindle.

For Amazon, it’s not just about getting more customers for its content ecosystem but about keeping the e-ink e-reader device manufacturers in business.

It’s not so far-fetched. After all, this year did see the invention of the $13 e-reader.

4. There will be a major privacy breach at a library that involves ebooks and reader information.

“There’s going to be some sort of privacy breach with ebooks and libraries and the industry and public will have to deal with that as well,” said Gary Price, editor of Library Journal’s infoDOCKET.

Some book buyers were taught a little bit of a lesson this year about using electronic keypads to enter in their debit card PIN numbers when buying books at Barnes & Noble bricks-and-mortar locations.

In Oct., it came to light that PIN machines at 63 Barnes & Noble locations had been compromised and information was stolen and unauthorized purchases were made.

There have been purely electronic privacy security issues this year – at Facebook and Google, for instance, just to name two.

No library has experienced anything similar, but libraries aren’t known for their air-tight security.

5. By the end of 2013, 65% of U.S. children will have access to an e-reading device.

Children’s digital is on the rise and it’s only going to continue growing as more children have access to computers, smartphones, tablets and e-readers.

According to a report from Digital Book World and PlayScience,

40% of parents who have children who read e-books plan to buy them new devices to do so this holiday season. And two-thirds of parents with children who read e-books planned on buying them digital content this past holiday season, spending an average of $28.26.

{For more interesting news visit: }

What do you think 2013 will hold for us as authors?


  1. Interesting. I really don't know what 2013 holds in store for writers. The cynic in me says probably something bad, though.

  2. Love hearing Neil talk, and can identify with his comments about being new in another country (for me, it was Canada).

    Everyone could tell I was from somewhere else, but they couldn't tell from where. . .they never guessed the USA.

  3. Forgot to answer the question, what does the future hold for writers?

    I would expect some way of culling the many books that break on the scene before their time. Genre restrictions seem to be blurring (that could be a good thing, but purists won't like it). Formulaic writing may be morphing (another good thing)

    For me, I'm still going to write, as the world shifts around me. Writing is a part of me.

  4. I know that there were more ebooks published last year than ever. Personally, I would like to see more readers. I know that the numbers are difficult to track, but I know several writers who don't read, and I don't get that.

  5. More eReaders and eBooks. I know I'm hooked.
    And I read last week that Kindle Fire sales were down 25% from what they expected over the holidays, due in part to the iPad 2's price and the Mini iPad.
    I'd like to see more titles available through other sites other than Amazon. I will download from there (or rather, my wife will) but I go to iTunes first for everything.

  6. It's all very interesting. I think more mergers and imprints closing is inevitable, but the $0 Kindle idea is very tempting, especially for school children.

  7. First, thank you so much for the shout-out yesterday, Roland. You are such a good friend.

    Never had any doubt e-books were here to stay or that chain bookstores were on their way out. Even I, who prefers print, have two e-readers and one tablet.

    Any guesses what the future holds for print on demand? I dream of the day when I can go into my independent bookstore (B&N will be history by then), thumb through a sample book and have the store print a copy for me in the format of my choosing. It would be even more perfect if the hardback I'm ordering came with digital rights so I could read it on my e-reader while I'm on the move.

    Think this could ever happen? Even though I prefer print, the waste involved in traditional printing (remainders, etc) is nothing short of abhorrent, and that's not mentioning how the process ends up screwing writers.

    ~VR Barkowski

  8. Yeah, the privacy thing was on my mind the other day. eBooks and eReaders were everywhere this Christmas. My kid wanted a Nexus7 which isn't JUST a reader, but that is one of her primary reasons. Great post. :)

  9. Steven:
    I think like any year, 2013 will have both good and ill surprises. I hope the former outweigh the latter!

    I, too, like hearing Neil Gaiman. I bought the audiobook of Neil's THE GRAVEYARD BOOK for that reason.

    Again like you, I will continue to write no matter what. But I may just write for myself ... just not as much!

    Stephen King wrote that if you don't read, you have no business writing! I like to read!

    I really do think Amazon may offer a bare-bones Kindle for very low or free to entice the market and keep its suppliers of e-reading frames afloat!

    The more children get Kindles, the more the kidlit market will explode. That may be the new area in which to start writing.

    Anything I can do help your blog succeed I will try to do. You were the first blogger to welcome me graciously and with humor.

    Because of your nod of approval, GHOST OF A CHANCE got written.

    I love my BOOKSaMILLION to stroll down all the aisles, finding titles by chance that I would never find any other way.

    I like your idea of Print on Demand stores. Amazon offers reduced priced audiobooks to go with most Kindle books that will read along with you or pick up where you left off reading in silence in the Doctor's office or some such.

    Great success this year!

    Yes, there are always scroundrels out there who will mess it up for the rest of us!

    Thanks for the compliment! :-)

  10. Wow, guess I could have saved $159.00 if I just waited a year or so to buy my kindle. The breach of security always scares me.
    Interesting post!

  11. 2013 - more reading and more writing! Other than that, I am not sure.

    I prefer reading "real" books but the problem with that is lack of space... So far I have resisted an e-reader.

  12. Thank you for that rundown of info. So much to think about for this year.

  13. Wow- finding myself in the majority of parents who purcahsed ereading devices is just scary. I'm still mostly a print book girl but even I can't deny the instant gratification of downloading a book at any time of day. The times, they are a-changing. Fab post Roland.
    A2Z Mommy and What’s In Between

  14. Ciara:
    The free kindle would be a bare-bones model, no frills at all. And security breaches scare me too!

    I love print books, especially leather bound ones. But with 7 wall-length bookshelves filled, I needed to find ways to keep buying books without using up any more space that I did not have!

    I wish you the highest sales this year with your book. Out in next December, right?

    Thanks. I love how I can download a sample chapter for free, giving me a chance to read it leisurely and deciding. I, too, like being able to read a New York Times book review and sample that book immediately. What fun, right? :-)

  15. I'm looking to get a tablet of some sort. Had to get the laptop first. Hopefully next year my finances will be better managed and I can get a tablet. I think I wouldn't mind sharing it with my son.


  16. Donna:
    Kindle makes some pretty inexpensive tablets -- though I think your son would get the lion's share of any sharing!! :-)