Friday, January 14, 2011

Ereader sales in 2010, continued

2011 is going to be a gaining momentum year for ebooks. I'll use a bit of data to explain why the big change will be in 2012.

I previously added up 14 to 15 million total ereader sales in 2010. My estimate was *only* 8 million Kindle sales.

Kindle Nation Daily Has it at 11 million *total* kindles by end 2010... or 8 million in 2010.

That link predicts a doubling of Kindles in 2010. (They note, a conservative prediction.) I think it will be more than a doubling of ereaders... With many additional tablet, Ipod touch, cellphone, and 'other device' readers added. The question is how much will the ebook market grow?

I suspect it will slightly over double! Partially due to the issues with Borders. I have at least a half dozen coworkers who bought either a Kindle or Nook due to the concerns about Borders. I would have thought they would drive the extra few miles to a B&N... apparently the news has 'pushed them' to buy an ereader.

So the question is, when does the 'economy of scale' shift from print to ebooks? I'm stated before at 20% of the market, the adoption rate will accelerate.

A little math (bear with with)
~ 4 million ereaders was 3% of the market in 2009.
~ 20 million ereaders is about 10% of the market at end 2010.

So before, one needed 1.3 million ereaders for each percent of the book market.
Now, we need about 2 million additional ereaders to add a percent of market share. This actually makes sense; on average, new ereader buyers purchase and read fewer books per year.

There will be anywhere from 15 to 40 million ereaders sold in 2011. (I know... not exactly a precise prediction.) I estimate it will take 3 million ereaders for each percent of additional market share. I'm also going to assume that 20% of ereading is on 'other devices' is a constant, so I'll ignore their sales.

That implies at the end of 2011, ebooks will be from 15% to 23% of the market. There is a reason I keep predicting the 'tipping point' in 2012. It is unlikely we'll break 20% in 2011. I'd love to see 40 million ereaders sold next year. I'm not going to hold my breath. But there is one chance: a marisol or color e-ink tablet & cell phone hit the market.

I hope to be proven conservative in predicting ebook growth again. (I know assuming that other devices doesn't grow beyond 20% is keeping a large number of ebook sales out of the prediction.) This keeps us on track for ebooks to be 1/2 the market in January 2013. :) For once the 'tipping point' is hit, the market shift will be fast.

Got Popcorn?

I haven't gone into how bookstore 'consolidation' will drive customers to ebooks. I'm not really interested in 'dancing on a grave,' but it is a trend that is going to happen. I suspect 300 to 500 bookstores will close in 2011 (net, in the USA). :( The customers will go somewhere...

Note at the end of the 2nd link that for 18 of 50 of the best sellers, the ebook outsells the pbook. What happens to the 'economy of scale' of print books when that is 40+ out of 50?

Late edit 1/17/2011
Another link to 8 million Kindle sales 2010.
"Unnamed sources “aware of the company’s sales projects” apparently provided that 8-million-unit figure.

If that number proves accurate, it would greatly outpace recent predictions from research firm Gartner, which pegged worldwide e-reader sales at 6.6 million units in 2010, a 79.8 percent increase from 2009. The firm also suggested that e-reader sales will rise another 68.3 percent in 2011, to more than 11 million units.

“The connected e-reader market has grown dramatically during the past two years, driven by sales of Amazon’s e-readers, primarily in North America,” "

My new comments:
That implies we could see 13 to 15 million Kindles in 2011. :) I'm happy to see Nook, Sony, and others gaining traction.

I did not expect Sony to come in at a quarter of Amazon's ereader sales. Kudos to them. The only question that remains is the true number of 2010 Nook sales. I'm suspecting I might have been optimistic... but based off B&N sales by Indie authors, was I? Perhaps I'm just being to anal about precision. ;)

Either way, we're looking at 15 to 25 ereader sales in 2011. We'd see more if an e-ink or Marisol screen with 30hz video made its way to the market. But all this 're-analysis' does is reinforce the true tipping point is later: 2012.

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