Credit Suisse Group analysts predict that Amazon's share of e-book sales will drop to 72% this year--from 90% in 2009--as competition from Apple's iPad and Google increases, Bloomberg reported, but Amazon "may boost digital book sales by 83% this year to $248 million from $135 million last year.... By 2015, those sales should reach $775 million for a market share of 35%."
"We envision a scenario where Apple, Amazon and Google eventually split the market," noted the analysts--Spencer Wang, Kenneth Sena and John Blackledge--who also anticipate that digital sales will represent about 3% of total book sales in 2010, and grow to 20% percent of the book market by 2015.
When Apple's iBook store launches next month, "many of its titles are expected to come with a set of handsome digital locks designed to deter piracy," according to the Los Angeles Times. "Veteran iTunes customers will recognize the locks as FairPlay, a digital rights management software."
The Times also wrote that "the majority of publishers are expected to embrace FairPlay, along with other copy protection software such as Adobe's Content Server 4, as a means to squelch incipient book piracy as the e-book market begins to take off."
"Closing Is No Bellwether: Indie Bookstores Holding Their Own" was the headline of a Hartford Courant article published in the wake of Sarah Bedell's announcement last week that she would be shutting down Bookworm bookshop, West Hartford, Conn. (Shelf Awareness, February 9, 2010).
"Books are more recession-proof than big-ticket items, and we ended up with a very good year and a very solid and strong January. The chains never bothered us," Bedell said. The Courant noted that news of the closing "has led to at least one offer she is considering, in what she says is a 'slight chance' the store will remain open."
The Courant also conducted an informal survey of other indie booksellers in the state who "reported an encouraging uptick in sales late last year and agree that embracing Internet marketing can augment their vital personal connection with customers."
Roxanne Coady, owner of R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, called her program Just the Right Book "our future. Going forward, that's our opportunity. If R.J. Julia loses ground, Just The Right Book underwrites it." She noted that selling digital downloads will also play a key role and said, "Our goal is to be the Harry and David of books."
A "very supportive community" and the "buy local" movement were cited by Fran Keilty, co-owner of the Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, as keys to the shop's good year: "Every quarter, we improved, and we had a good last quarter. We expect 2010 to be better.... We're seen as an integral part of the community, and people yearn for community. I'm amazed at the number of people who have come in and said one of the reasons they purchased homes here was because there is a bookstore. Real estate agents say it, too."
Intrigued by the absence of wi-fi in a new café opened by Borderlands Books, San Francisco, Calif., the Rumpus asked owner Alan Beatts how he made that decision.
"The question of wireless was one that I considered for quite a long time," Beatts recalled. "Even up to the last month before we opened I was on the fence. But, during the process of writing our mission statement, I realized that our focus on creating a social space rather than a work-space and my desire to encourage people to interact with each other made the decision about wi-fi pretty clear. I've observed and been told many times about how the availability of wi-fi creates a space where people are wrapped up in their own, solitary world and not interacting with each other. That was not the kind of place I wanted to own or work in."
Goerings Book Store, Gainesville Fla., which had posted its own obituary last month on the shop's website, closed during the first week of February. "Most people would agree, at least until the last few years, a community such as Gainesville ought to be able to support a serious independent bookstore," co-owner Tom Rider told the Sun.
In the obituary, he wrote that it had "become obvious at this point that an independent trade book store like Goerings Book Store was no longer possible in the Gainesville market. But, hey, we survived for thirty-eight years by meeting adverse market situations and by having wonderful, loyal customers." Rider will maintain the Goerings website as a virtual bookstore and will continue to post book reviews and commentary.
"We share many of the same customers," said Anne Haisley, co-owner of Books Inc., Gainesville, which she and her husband have put up for sale. "The customers come here, and they moan about their loss, and they just beg us to not close, to stay here for them."
"I have been shocked and overwhelmed by the response and feel like it is now completely out of my control," Eric Wakefield, owner of Golden Bough Bookstore, Macon, Ga., told Macon.com, which reported that since buying the bookshop two years ago, he has "made a home for the people who look to the outskirts of pop culture for their entertainment. Wakefield just needed a way to get those people into the bookstore. That's when he started offering free live music on Tuesday nights."
Burien Books, a 50-year-old Seattle institution, is on the market. Longtime owner Virginia Pearce died late last year and her nephew, Joe Wisen, is now looking for a buyer, the Highline Times reported.
"We are actively trying to sell it and if it doesn't sell quickly we will have to close it down," he said. "It has some value to it, in that everyone knows where it is."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation offered readers a checklist called "Digital Books and Your Rights," noting that "as new digital book tools and services roll out, we need to be able to evaluate not only the cool features they offer, but also whether they extend (or hamper) our rights and expectations. The over-arching question: Are digital books as good or better than physical books at protecting you and your rights as a reader?
If you've been wondering about the 250 most-borrowed books at libraries in the U.K. from July, 2008 to June, 2009, have we got a chart for you. The Guardian reported that the top three authors overall were Americans James Patterson, Nora Roberts and Danielle Steel. The top 10 books on the list:
- Sail by James Patterson
- No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay
- 7th Heaven by James Patterson with Maxine Paetro
- You've Been Warned by James Patterson and Howard Roughan
- The Outcast by Sadie Jones
- Nothing to Lose by Lee Child
- The Front by Patricia Cornwell
- Hold Tight by Harlan Coben
- The Appeal by John Grisham
- Friday Nights by Joanna Trollope
Book trailer of the day: The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers,
and the Self-Employed: The Only Personal Finance Book for People with
Not-So-Regular Jobs by Joseph D'Agnese and Denise Kiernan (Three Rivers
Kevin Hamric has joined the News Group as v-p of book operations. He
was formerly v-p of sales and marketing at Quayside Publishing Group
and, earlier, was sales director at the Taunton Press
ReadHowYouWant is partnering with Independent Publishers Group and IPG Digital to create accessible formats of the group's bestselling titles. ReadHowYouWant's conversion technology will repurpose the books into alternative formats, including large print, braille, e-books, synthesized audio MP3 and DAISY--a talking book format that produces audio along with the written text.