Friday, May 20, 2011

Amazon.Com: eBooks now outselling regular books

I came across this report earlier today and I thought it was worth sharing for a variety of reasons.  According to, for the first time, customers are buying more eBooks than all print books combined.  This is an astounding development, especially when you consider that eBooks have only been on sale for less than four years!

The rate that eBooks are growing is absolutely phenomenal.  Look at these two graphs below, courtesy of the International Digital Publishing Forum.  The first details the US Trade Electronic Book Sales, which were $119.7 million in the 3rd quarter of 2010:

The rate of growth is obviously accelerating, and that growth becomes even more dramatic when you look at eBook sales on a yearly basis.

So, here's the real question, at least as far as I'm concerned: so what?  Why is this so important?

There's many reasons, but here are two very specific ones:

  • From a business perspective, in a changing world, innovation counts more than ever.  Those who stick to outdated business models (see Borders & Blockbuster for an example) fail - those who adapt to changing technology see increases in sales.  So, for your business, ask yourself:  Am I doing everything I can to be on the cutting edge of emerging business trends and technology?  If not - what can you do to fix this problem?
  • More specifically: technology matters.  An ad-ology survey in 2009 found that 46% of small businesses don't even have a website.  This is horrendous.  Between rising costs, a shaky economic recovery and enhanced competition, small businesses already face enough issues:  not having a website can be a death sentence for any business.  
Am I crazy here, or does this matter to your business?  Let us know what you think in the comments.

1 comment:

Jon Geeting said...

I think the main takeaway should be that states really need to tax online purchases, because this is creating a major disadvantage for traditional retailers with storefronts. Obviously a lot of businesses are going to be moving online no matter what, but there's no reason to give them additional incentives to abandon physical stores, especially in the core cities. Maybe nobody cares if a Borders goes out of business, but people are going to be bummed if the Moravian Book Store has to close up shop because that's a big anchor business for Bethlehem's downtown. And you can rerun that example for lots of other traditional/online retailers to see why the tax disaparity is a raw deal for older core cities.