Guess Hachette is wrong on $9.99, death of hardcovers

Remember Hachette’s paranoia about how ebooks would spell the end of hardcovers, and that $9.99 kindle books would destroy publishers’ profits.

Apparently, reality disagrees.

The BookSeller reports that Hachette’s first-half profits rose a ‘remarkable’ 60%. To be precise they went up by 61.1% to 112 million euros.

Much of it is being ascribed to the success of the Stephanie Meyer saga – in the US, France, UK, and Australia. The same Stephanie Meyer saga that was on the Kindle bestsellers list for under $10 and should have ‘destroyed’ hardcover sales.

Perhaps Publishers are looking at things upside down

For decades Publishers have fought ebooks tooth and nail. While there are significant risks, there are also significant benefits –

  1. Kindle owners tend to buy more books. 
  2. Successful books spread faster and wider.  
  3. No study done on this – However, would not be surprised to find you can finish a book faster on a kindle.
  4. There’s a chance that ebooks will increase total sales and total book revenue and not just cannibalize hardcovers.  
  5. Kindle books have no used book market.  

Publishers haven’t taken any time to think about possible upsides of ebooks.

Increase of the book reading population

How are things different from pre-Kindle days?

  1. We now probably have a million plus Kindles and half a million plus Sony Readers.
  2. We have 3 million ebook readers on the iPhone. 1 million or more of which are on Kindle for iPhone.
  3. We have a much larger range of ebooks.
  4. People with low vision can read.
  5. Features like larger fonts and light weight mean people with arthiritis etc. can read again

More people are being introduced to reading. A lot of people who were locked out of reading have the option to read again. A lot of people are rediscovering their love of reading.

Kindles and eReaders provide benefits that books just couldn’t and expand the places, situations and market for reading.

Next time Hachette Group want to rant about how $9.99 kindle books will kill publishers and spell the end of hardcovers, they ought to check on their profits first.

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