Type
Article

Meanland extract – Amazon and that old fudging figures manoeuvre

Unless you slept through yesterday (or for some incomprehensible reason went offline), you probably heard how Amazon won the book wars, summed up so succinctly in this New York Times headline: E-Books Top Hardcovers at Amazon:

Monday was a day for the history books — if those will even exist in the future.

Amazon.com, one of the nation’s largest booksellers, announced Monday that for the last three months, sales of books for its e-reader, the Kindle, outnumbered sales of hardcover books.

In that time, Amazon said, it sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books, including hardcovers for which there is no Kindle edition.

Twitter and the blogosphere were saturated by speculation as to what this meant for the drum of publishing: yet another indication that print was on its deathbed?

The Times quotes one Mr Mike Shatzkin, CEO of the Idea Logical Company, ‘which advises book publishers on digital change’:

“This was a day that was going to come, a day that had to come,” he said. He predicts that within a decade, fewer than 25 percent of all books sold will be print versions.

Death of printIf I may draw your attention to the operative noun: hardcovers. Hardcovers. As readers, writers and publishers know, hardcovers are generally no longer a viable print option. They’re expensive to produce and there’s not a great demand outside of collectors or fetishists. Hardcover production has been on the decline for some time; most books, in fact, no longer have a hardcover print run, rather, it’s straight to the paperback route.

Read the rest of the post over at Meanland.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Jacinda Woodhead is the editor of Overland. Her PhD research examined abortion politics in Australia and nonfiction as political intervention.

More by

Comments are closed.