Tuesday, May 25, 2010

E-Books Rewrite Bookselling

Editor’s Note: A great case study in the making. The music industry lost out in that industry’s migration to digital because the major players were late to embrace. The publishing is trying to get out in front of the wave as print moves towards digital. How will the U.S. gaming industry adjust when digital comes our way?

May 21, 2010: summarized from the Wall Street Journal -- Nowhere is the e-book tidal wave hitting harder than at bricks-and-mortar book retailers. The competitive advantage Barnes & Noble spent decades amassing—offering an enormous selection of more than 150,000 books under one roof—was already under pressure from online booksellers.
It evaporated with the recent advent of e-bookstores, where readers can access millions of titles for e-reader devices.

Even more problematic for brick-and-mortar retailers is the math if sales of physical books rapidly decrease: Because e-books don't require paper, printing presses, storage space or delivery trucks, they typically sell for less than half the price of a hardcover book. If physical book sales decline precipitously, chain retailers won't have enough revenue to support all their stores.

Some question whether book stores will go the way of music stores, which closed en masse once consumers could sample and download music digitally. Blockbuster Inc., the video rental giant, is struggling to reshape its business at a time when movies can be downloaded directly to digital devices.
Unlike music, the book industry didn't suffer dramatically from digital theft and, for years, couldn't figure out how to make money from e-books. There was no sense of urgency.

"It's fair to say that the leadership folks at the major trade publishers didn't believe until very recently that e-books had any economic life in them," says Arthur Klebanoff, chief executive of New York-based RosettaBooks LLC, an e-book publisher.

The success of Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle e-reader recently changed all that, proving to publishers that the e-books market was real.

But it wasn't until the arrival of Apple Inc.'s iPad last month—with its promise of one day tapping more than 125 million iTunes customers—that the true potential of the e-book market became apparent.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/bSeFe8

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