updated 06:40 pm EDT, Fri April 15, 2011
E-book sales triple in US, overtake paper
The Association of American Publishers said late Thursday that e-books had surged and established a foothold as the most popular format for reading in the US. Results from February saw e-book sales triple from just a year ago to $90.3 million. The jump made it the most popular format for books in the US, outpacing paper in every category the AAP covers.
CEO Tom Allen spun the surge as proof publishers were taking care of readers regardless of format. He also acknowledged that e-books were now "permanent additions" to readers' habits but argued there was still an interest in paper books.
Publishers have usually fought to gain or keep control over pricing and have been partly responsible for Apple and later Amazon adopting an agency model for pricing, where the retailer makes a fixed profit and publishers have at least some control over the price. In the UK, the model has triggered investigations over possible collusion on keeping prices high.
The shift still suggests the same digital shift in books as which happened for music and video. While companies like Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble have been successful, traditional book stores like Borders have declared bankruptcy or have been scrambling for a buyer to help them stay above water as their customers get e-books instead.