The New York Times declares today that the storm and drang over ebooks is now over. Sales have dropped, bookstores are thriving on print sales and ebooks, once expected to dominate the market in 2015, have settled down to being just another format, representing about 20% of the market.
Among the many reasons that ebooks have not taken over is one that may be key, they are not significantly cheaper, as a result of bloody battles between publishers and Amazon. Says the NYT, “As publishers renegotiated new terms with Amazon in the past year and demanded the ability to set their own e-book prices, many have started charging more. With little difference in price between a $13 e-book and a paperback, some consumers may be opting for the print version.”
The NYT admits that we may not be seeing the full picture, “The declining e-book sales reported by publishers do not account for the millions of readers who have migrated to cheap and plentiful self-published e-books, which often cost less than a dollar.”
It may be too early to say what the ultimate impact of ebooks will be. The story ends by quoting Carolyn Reidy, CEO of S&S, who says this could just be a pause in ebook sales and we don’t yet know the reading preferences of next generation.
In case you’re wondering, the article doesn’t say anything about libraries.