Does Bloomsbury really expect 25% of its sales in 2011 to be ebooks?

Bloomsbury, which publishes Harry Potter, is saying some very un-Publisher like things (found via TeleRead) –

  1. In January and February 2011 it saw a 600% increase in ebook sales.
  2. It expects that ebook sales of Bloomsbury titles in 2011 might be as high as 25% of total book sales – provided present trends continue.
  3. It expects ebook sales to account for more than 25% of profits. It obviously didn’t get the Secret Society of Publishers memo. Here’s what Bloomsbury’s executive director said –

    … would not reveal what proportion of profits ebook sales were likely to account for in 2011, but it is expected to be considerably higher than 25pc.

    Digital book margins are higher because there are no printing costs involved nor any extra costs incurred by over-estimating print runs or pulping books with errors in them. “The biggest saving is in cock-ups,” Mr Charkin said.

  4. There go Mr. Charkin’s chances of getting appointed to the Grand Alchemist Council of the Secret Society of PublishersNo Croquet in the Earl of Sandwich’s gardens for you, my boy. No Publisher in his right mind would ever admit that ebooks save money – that there are no printing costs, no errors, and no returns. Mr. Charkin fails to mention how difficult it is to convert digital book files into impossible formats like text and PDF and Kindle format. He also neglects to mention the little armies of magical gnomes that have to be hired and paid in gold coins from the time of Queen Victoria.
  5. In the US, Howard Jacobson’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel sold 42% of copies in ebook format. That’s not a mistake – it really is 42%.

It’s unimaginable. A Publisher admitting that ebooks are more profitable than paper books, that ebooks result in lots of cost savings, and that ebooks might account for 25% of book sales in 2011.

You almost think it’s some sort of joke and that tomorrow Bloomsbury will say – Oh, we just played our April Fool’s joke two weeks too early.


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