Sunday, March 27, 2011

Peak ebook market share and indie authors

Has anyone found a good link on non-AAP14 ebook sales? I've done my estimates; but it has become too obvious I am underestimating indie/small publisher market share. In bookstores, the top AAP14 (of 88) had a huge advantage with coop and other schemes to push everyone off the bookshelves. Now it is the big6/AAP14 vs. 400 publishers and DTP authors.

I see no way that I'm not underestimating the sales of that horde that were pushed into less desirable corners of the bookstores or even out of the bookstores. But I'll keep blogging my estimate as I would rather not over-estimate indie-author sales. Let's face it, Barry Eisler would never have turned down $500k (yes, half a million bucks) if the old system were working for authors.

Peak ebook market share:

I keep hearing that ebooks will top out at some absurdly low market share. With my underestimation of indie/small publisher market share, it was just under 28% in January. Since the market is still accelerating, old technology diffusion theory tells us that we're at most at the half way point.

Worst case ebooks will hit 56% of the book market market share.

But there is nothing to say we've hit the half way point. So the potential final market share could be much higher. I've watched a number of co-workers who swore they'd never adopt ebooks buy Kindles and Nooks when they found out their favorite bookstore was destined to close; but a few will read paper to their grave.

My estimate is that ebooks will peak at 75% to 85% of the book market share. It is nothing more than a hunch. A hunch supported by current ebook market share and growth.

Any links or opinions are appreciated in the comment section.

Got Popcorn?

ps, About as soon as I posted Moses Siregar III posted a good link in the comments of JA Konrath's blog: Ebooks to dominate by March 2013.

I disagree with that post in one detail. The *latest* ebooks will have 50% market share is January 2013. ;) That has been my main prediction for a bit. There is now a greater probability that the threshold will be crossed earlier than later! I'm still floored as to how well ebooks did this January.


  1. Do you follow any of the bloggers from Forrester Research who write on this topic? They seem to come out with numbers and predictions that the folks at the major publishers simply echo. :D

    (I particularly watch what James McQuivey and Sarah Rottman Epps have to say.)

  2. I've followed some of Forrester... but their predictions are very... pro-print. ;) Or have been, so I stopped following those that publish predictions based on what the customers want to hear and not what they need to hear.


  3. How recently have you checked? I didn't find either of those mentioned above blatantly pro-print. Obviously, their customers are the Big 6 NY publishers, but they have some good insights. I'll have to remember to pass along their good stuff to you. ;-)

  4. I haven't checked since:

    Since I couldn't find anything more recent...

    $3billion in 2015 is predicting a sharp *slowing* in ebook growth! I consider that pro-print. Not blatant... But there. We'll hit above $3billion a year in 2012. A small chance for 2011... but I doubt it. I hope the ebook market proves me wrong. ;)