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Ebook sales plunge

7 March 2016

Ebook sales plunged in October 2015, with adult books dropping 22% in one month, compared to children's ebooks which went down a whopping 44.7%. As we've discussed elsewhere, the children's market has a strong preference for print books, with both parents and children preferring them.

Michael Tamblyn, the new CEO of Kobo, said at the IPG conference in a slightly ominous way that it was ‘the end of the beginning' for ebooks. Jo Henry of Nielsen thought that ‘Digital reading has reached maturity... it is becoming much more of a mix with print.'

Falling ebook sales are thought to be connected with rising prices. EbooksDigital bookstore selling wide range of ebooks in 50 categories from Hildegard of Bingen to How to Write a Dirty Story and showing how the range of ebooks available is growing. are not seen as such good value any more and many customers apparently feel it may be a better deal to buy the paperback edition, rather than to get the book in ebook format. The prices of ebooks published by big publishers have risen from the $9.99 Amazon stuck with for a long time to $12 for fiction, although self-published books are much cheaper. Author Earnings says that nearly 60% of Kindle books come from these self-publishers who are outside the traditional publishing process.

Amazon currently controls about three-quarters of the US ebook market, but in 2010 it had 54% of the book market as a whole. The success of the Kindle has enabled the online retailer to hugely extend its reach into the book market.

Just this week, its big competitor Apple has finally been defeated in its legal battle with the US Justice Department, the publishers all settled some time ago.

Ironically Apple's settlement will involve them paying $400 million back to customers, which the customers then have to spend on ebooks, which is expected to provide a major boost to the market this year.