Some estimates report that ebook sales have grown more than 600% in the past year making them a commodity that traditional publishers need to own and control.
The problem for most publishers, however, is receiving the same level of profits from digital books as they receive from print books. Except digital books have no where near the same production costs as traditional books, meaning their prices must be artificially increased to keep pace.
This obviously doesn't sit well with readers who are savvy enough to know they shouldn't pay the same price for a digital edition of a book as they do for the print edition.
There is also the increased competition to consider. It is now easier than ever for an author, or anyone with a story to tell, to self-publish their own book in a digital edition. Amazon has made no secret of the fact they are desperate for more eBook content, simplifying the upload process and distribution system so that nearly anyone with an Internet connection (and a finished ebook) can do it.
Pricing has also been a point of contention when it comes to ebooks. Where traditional publishers seem to be setting higher-than-acceptable prices on their eBooks, self-publishers are doing the exact opposite, setting prices as low as .99 cents for most works. Readers are naturally more inclined to choose the lower priced book, unless they are looking for something specific. A .99 cent book is at least worth a read, if not a recommendation.
eBooks are not going away any time soon, regardless of whether or not traditional publishers get on board and find a pricing structure that works. For the time being traditional publishers have contracts with established authors that give them a slight lead in the ebook market, but as more and more authors wise-up to the advantages of self-publishing, and traditional printed books become more of a niche market, it seems likely that the market will force traditional publishers to make do with less, while at the same time provide individual authors with a bigger piece of the pie.
Amazon says the Kindle is their best selling product. Eight months ago the company announced that customers were choosing Kindle books over hardcover books at a rate of more than two to one, even as hard cover sales continued to grow.
On Amazon since April 2011, 242 Kindle books have been sold for every 100 hardcover books.
Amazon's Allan Lyall said: "They are really convenient, easy to use. You can change the font size to suit you eye. You can just flip the pages through. So folks are finding the product itself really convenient. And of course it is delivered in a very convenient way."
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