As of November 2010, ebooks still have a ways to go. According to a Forrester survey, more people used laptops than any other ebook reading device. If laptops and their smaller sibling the netbook are combined, nearly 50% of ebooks were read on a computer rather than a specialized ebook reader. This is not a testament to how great the reading experience is on a laptop, but rather an indication of the hurdles for ebook readers.
Also, in spite of all the hoopla in 2010 about ebook readers, only 7 percent of U.S. online adults currently read e-books. That number will surely grow in the coming year.
Over at idioplatform.com Andrew Davis gives his take on the future of publishing. Snippet:
One of the most significant risks to publishers, much more important than a fall in demand for traditional products, is that their position in the value chain could be removed entirely. [...] To start to provide a route out of confusion, there is a two-step change of focus that must occur. Firstly, publishers must start to consider their business to be community management, not shipping books. Publishers that have built direct relationships with their most active, vociferous, and passionate customers, have an opportunity to maximise lifetime customer value. Secondly, it’s vital to shift the focus from monetising content, to monetising that community. Digital content, in most instances, is trending downwards in price.
The truth is that there will not be as much money in the selling of content as there has been. That’s a result of content ubiquity. The lie is that most publishers have to go bust. There are a myriad of potential revenue streams when communities are the source of monetisation.
Of course tied up in the article is a sales pitch for Idio’s services, but that doesn’t mean the man is without a point.
We’ll see where the publishing world goes in the new year.